Boomers – Who Do They Think They Are?

We think about markets, segments, motivations and behaviour all the time. And it struck us that one of the key markets in tourism – what is often called the baby boomer or empty nester – is widely misunderstood or suffers from stereotyping. Given that 60-somethings have the greatest levels of wealth (see table below source BBC 2019) and time, they represent a significant opportunity for most destinations. It’s salutary to note that individual wealth tends to increase with age, peaking in the 60-to-64 age group at a level nine times as high as the 30-to-34 age group (source: Office for National Statistics 2022).

So, the starting point for us was that this is a group that we need to understand better because it is so valuable – and the marketing to them isn’t right.  So, with our regular collaborators, Bluegrass Research, we decided to conduct some research into Boomers – taking a deep dive into who these people are, their attitudes to life, age and travel so we are better able to guide our clients on how to reach them and how to talk to them.

Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are currently (2024) aged between 60 and 78 and definitely do not consider themselves to be past-it.  Neither should marketers – but this is often a challenge for what is typically a young person’s profession.

Our research* indicated a strong sense of confidence with:

  • 89% always happy to tell people how old they are
  • 75% saying they’re fit & active for their age
  • And there’s confirmation that this is a key market for the travel industry – with 65% saying that “holidays are an essential part of my life”

But they’re very conscious of ageism in society and in marketing, with 55% feeling there isn’t much advertising for them. And a huge majority – 84% – say they “hate being defined by their age”.

From the research six clear segments emerged exhibiting very different attitudes to day trips, holidays and breaks – in terms of where they like to go, what they like to do, how they plan and how much money they are prepared to spend. The six segments are:

  • Contented Mainstreams
  • Prosperous Planners
  • Spontaneous Sociables
  • Active Professionals
  • Careful, Quiet Life
  • Spur of the Moment

Since we conducted this research in 2013, we’ve worked with a range of clients to help them define and capitalise on the opportunity for their business, continuing to update our understanding and thinking about Boomers.

Want to find out more about our boomer segments? View our presentation to read about who they are, what their travel behaviours are and their thoughts on holidaying in the UK.

If after that you want to find out even more about them or you’d like our help to understand your older audiences better, just contact us.

*Online research of 777 people across the UK, equally split across 3 age bands 49-55, 56-61, 62-67.