Retailers to Decrease Market Spend on Boomers, Seniors 

But Gen X will see a spike in retail attention 

Author: Jennifer King

February 28, 2018

Many US retail marketers plan to shift attention from baby boomers in favor of younger consumers, according to findings by coupon website RetailMeNot.

The January 2018 survey found that many US retailers plan to increase their spending to capture the attention of younger shoppers. And that's not too surprising. Often, at the expense of older shoppers, retailers have narrowed their targeting strategies to capitalize on younger consumers’ online and brick-and-mortar spending.

Some 65% of retailers said they plan to increase marketing spend targeting Gen Z (13- to 19-year-olds), while slightly more will up their spend to reach millennials, defined in the survey as those 20 to 35. 

But that's not to say they're just focusing on the youngsters. Roughly six in 10 retailers said they would increase spend among the notoriously overlooked Gen X, while fewer plan to do so for both boomers and seniors. 

When to it comes to decreasing their marketing spend, some retailers plan to implement that change across all generations, though more so among boomers and seniors. RetailMeNot found that 22% of retailers planned to decrease their spending to boomers, while 27% said the same for seniors.

This decrease is most likely because of older generations' slower adoption of digital in general. But this shift in marketing attention to youth has caused discontent among mature demographics.

For example, in an AARP survey published last August, older respondents agreed that fashion, technology, sports and entertainment industries all better serve younger consumers. 

The sentiment that brands "don't care" and are exclusively for the younger-than-40 crowd is harmful, as it can deter potential consumers from making a purchase.  

Separate data from Age of Majority mirrors those sentiments. The August 2017 survey found that among older consumers ages 55 to 74, just 22% felt that fashion brands/marketers were doing a good job connecting with people their age, while 30% said the same of personal care marketers.

In contrast, over half (51% and 57%, respectively) of millennial respondents said fashion marketers and personal care marketers did a good job of connecting with them.