SOURCE: Boomer Project

July 17, 2007 07:00 ET

Surveys Show Boomers Drive U.S. Consumer Confidence, Remain Nation's Wealthiest Consumer Group

New Book Also Released by Founders of the Boomer Project: Retailers Remain Focused on Younger Age Groups, Despite Boomer Wealth, Spending and Attitudes

RICHMOND, VA--(Marketwire - July 17, 2007) - The Baby Boom drives U.S. consumer confidence more dramatically than any other generation, remains the most affluent spending group, but is increasingly ignored by the nation's marketers and retailers as it ages, according to two national surveys and the findings of a new book released today by the Boomer Project.

According to the Department of Labor's Consumer Expenditure Survey, America's 78 million Baby Boomers born between 1946 and 1964 outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods and services. They remain the largest, wealthiest and most influential consumer group in the United States. And, perhaps even more importantly, their opinions and beliefs about the direction of the U.S. economy drive national consumer confidence scores, according to the Boomer Project, the nation's leading authority on marketing to today's Boomer Consumer, based on its new analysis of research among more than 7,000 consumers.

This analysis represents the first major finding from a new strategic partnership between the Boomer Project and BIGresearch, the Worthington, Ohio-based consumer intelligence firm that helps companies from Wal-Mart to Wall Street keep pace with changing consumer behaviors.

For each of the last nine months, according to the monthly BIGresearch Consumer Intentions & Actions™ (CIA) study among more than 7,000 consumers, Boomer Consumers report lower scores than both older and younger generations when it comes to their confidence in the U.S. economy over the next six months. In fact, Boomers so dominate the economic scene that when their opinions fluctuate up or down, so does the national score. The CIA survey studies economic and individual factors driving consumer purchase decisions.

"This is hard proof that today's older Boomers still fuel the U.S. economic engine," said Matt Thornhill, president of the Boomer Project. "Let's hope this wakes up the remaining skeptics who think marketing and retailing is all about the young -- it isn't. Boomers are still critically important consumers."

Concurrent with the surveys, Thornhill and business partner John Martin have released a new book, "Boomer Consumer, Ten New Rules for Marketing to America's Largest, Wealthiest, and Most Influential Consumer" (LINX, July 2007). This easy-to-read book for companies and organizations trying to figure out how to best connect with today's older Boomer Consumer is already garnering attention and praise:

Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Age Wave, author of "Age Wave," "Age Power," "The Power Years" and "Workforce Crisis":

"For more than 30 years, through my writing and public speaking, I've been attempting to wake businesses and organizations up to the enormous social, political and marketplace power of the Boomer generation. I have found 'Boomer Consumer' to be an exceptional resource. Every page provides clear thinking, fresh insights, imaginative suggestions and most importantly, actionable advice regarding the steps to take immediately to seize the enormous Boomer opportunity. Thornhill and Martin have done their homework. These guys get it; and you will too once you read this book."

"Boomer Consumer" is on sale at and Barnes & and bookstores everywhere.

According to the Boomer Project's analysis of the BIG data, current consumer confidence in the economy for the next six months is down considerably from where it was six months ago, in January 2007.

Percent "Very confident" or
"Confident" in their feelings
about chances for a strong
economy in the next 6 months    January 2007   June 2007    Difference
All Respondents                     50.5%         43.9%        -6.6%

Boomers                             47.1%         39.6%        -7.5%

"This suggests that retailers are in for a tough second half of 2007, especially those retailers still ignoring any consumer over the age of 49," said Thornhill. "Things could be especially difficult in the Northeast, where only 32.5% of Boomers tell us they are confident in the prospects for the economy over the next six months."

"What's alarming is that Boomers are more negative about the economy's prospects than the other generations, and usually Boomers are accused of being overly optimistic and positive," said "Boomer Consumer" co-author John Martin.

"This is exactly the type of insight we expected the Boomer Project would uncover from our rich consumer intelligence when we partnered with them," said Gary Drenik, president of BIGresearch. "The generational trends they've uncovered from our datasets should help marketers and retailers get smarter about how to more effectively sell to consumers at any age."

High resolution image:

More information at and Contact Matt Thornhill, 804-690-4837.

The Boomer Project is the leading national authority on marketing to today's Baby Boomers. Its research and insights help marketers better understand the mindset of America's largest and most important demographic segment. The Boomer Project is an initiative by SIR Research, one of the nation's oldest and most experienced marketing research companies.

BIGresearch is a market intelligence firm providing analysis of consumer behavior in areas of retail, financial services, automotive, and media. The syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey (CIA) monitors the pulse of more than 7,000 consumers each month. The syndicated Simultaneous Media Usage Survey (SIMM) monitors more than 15,000 consumers twice each year to identify opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace including the media.

BIGresearch's methodology provides the most accurate consumer information in the industry with a margin of error of +/- 1 percent.

Contact Information

  • Contact:

    Matt Thornhill