Turning 50 brought a smile to my face. I was suddenly released from the broad target market description of LSM 8-10, aged 25-49. No more pressure to buy the latest, best, fastest, most efficient, new and improved… I could sit back and just relax. Margie Knapp on the baby boomer generation, and why it should not be ignored.
But society tells us that 50 is the new 40, so ignore us at your own peril. We are the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964. There are around 6.6 million 50-64 year olds in South Africa and 1.8 million of us are in LSM 8-10. In terms of monthly household income, 2.1 million have a household income in excess of R11 000 and 1.1 million earn R20 000+. We have fewer dependents than our younger generation of 25-49 year olds. So 1.3 million of us have dependents, either our own unmarried children or other dependents, compared to 3.4 million for the LSM 8-10, 25-49 year old market.
We are also largely responsible for the resurgence of the property market, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX South Africa. Goslett says that as more and more South African consumers reach retirement age, downsizing boomers aged between 47 and 65 years old could bring about further resurgence in the property market.
“With many of these homeowners having built equity in their homes over the years, as well as other investments, boomers may be the first demographic to move in the emerging market when other ages groups are still struggling to meet the stringent lending criteria required by banks.” He further elaborates on the viability of this older market. Their sales figures show that the boomer market is buying a second property as an investment, or as a seaside holiday home. Downsizing means that we are in the market for new furniture; our lounge suites with Smarties, Jelly Tots, and spilt Nesquik memories all over it has to be replaced. In fact all our family sized furniture needs replacing. We have adapted to technology well, and can afford to buy the latest top of the range TV to go with our DStv Explorer. Kitchen appliances are outdated and also need replacing. Boomers like open-floor plans, lots of storage space and specifically his and hers master bedroom cupboards and gardens featuring decks. Other amenities on the must-have list include fireplaces and bars (source: SA Commercial Property News).
We are money savvy and less likely to take out personal loans, as there’s no need for school fees and associated expenses. In terms of accounts held at the bank, you will find that we have investment accounts, credit cards, debit cards and savings accounts. In the words of Professor John Simpson of the UCT Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing, “In a time of higher prices and rising interest rates, it is the financially secure within the valuable 40-plus market who are able to save and spend and therefore present businesses with a golden opportunity.”
And, we have ‘me-time’. According to the latest available Telmar data (29 April to 27 May) we watch TV on average for three hours and 35 minutes per day, as opposed to the younger 25-49 market who watch just over two and half hours. We kick back on a Sunday to watch TV for just less than four hours in total.
Viewership kicks off with Morning Live on SABC 2, followed by soapie repeats on SABC 1. We are available from 5pm in the afternoon right through to the late evening. We aren’t station loyal, and channel hop to find our favourite programmes. Gold Rush on Discovery Channel clearly indicates this. Our top viewed programmes demonstrate our diverse viewing repertoire: On SABC 1 we watch Generations the Legacy, on SABC 2 it’s 7de Laan, SABC 3 The Bold and Beautiful. On e.tv Modern Family is the big hit while on M-Net, Carte Blanche is the winner. M-Net Edge’s Shameless, National Geographic’s Wicked Tune, and Food Network’s Diners Drive-Ins and Dives are popular in this group.
And no! We do not shun technology; we embrace it and are at ease with it. In terms of Twitter, there are 980 000 users aged between 45 and 64 – that equates to 28% of active South African Twitter users. Plus we are active on Facebook – between 800 000 and 900 000 of us.
Our top three categories are:
1. Entertainment – Faith Tap
2. Church/Religious Organisation – GodVine, Die Volle Wapensrusting
3. Artist – Sunette Bridges
Our top three likes:
We are also active on the Estee Lauder, Candy Crush, Huisgenoot, Cruiseabout, Le Creuset, FitFlopSA, SA National Parks, KLM and MSC Cruises pages.
In conclusion, we are a viable market, with the means, the money and the time. Remember, age is just a number.
Margie Knapp is a senior strategist at The MediaShop. This post was first published in the company’s ShopTalk newsletter.
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