Madonna. Bono. George Clooney. Tom Hanks. Oprah. All Baby Boomers.

Not exactly the clichéd stereotype of grandma and grandpa using a walker to get from one room to another.

Though Millennials (75.4 million) have recently surpassed Baby Boomers (74.9 million) in sheer numbers, today’s Baby Boomers represent nearly 40% of the U.S. population and control 70% of all disposable cash in the United States. That’s $3.2 trillion in spending power. So why are marketers so willing to ignore this vibrant and lucrative market?

Following are key reasons why Baby Boomers represent a great opportunity for marketers trying to identify a consumer sweet spot:

  • They spend $400 billion more than younger demographics each year on consumer goods, including restaurants, personal care, and entertainment
  • Contrary to popular thinking, these consumers are willing to try new brands that talk to them and earn their loyalty
  • They dominate spending in 119 out of 123 CPG categories
  • Boomers are hungry for experiential products and services, and on the prowl for the next big thing
  • They plan to leverage technology for a more fulfilling, comfortable life
  • Boomers spend nearly $7 billion online annually, well ahead of Millennials
  • They purchase 62.5% of all new cars and 80% of luxury travel products
  • By 2022, Baby Boomers, particularly women Baby Boomers, will have inherited nearly $15 trillion from their parents and spouses

Women Baby Boomers, in particular, represent a huge opportunity based on their significant spending power. Consider these facts:

  • As a whole, women over the age of 50 have a combined net worth of $19 trillion
  • Having focused on looking after families in their younger years, these now empty nesters have become the biggest consumers of luxury, security, and convenience items in the country
  • Women over the age of 50 spend, on average, 250% of what the population in general spends in any given year, including purchases of technology-related items, cars, and various financial services

Boomers are social, mobile, and online. They’re working well beyond the traditional retirement age, creating new businesses and products, and staying healthy beyond their years. Boomers are most interested in the experiences their money can buy, so key industries that will flourish with this group include health & wellness, travel, auto, entertainment, and pets. Whether they’re spending $120 billion on travel or $30 billion on pet care, they’re spending their money differently than previous generations as they reinvent aging.

It’s unfortunate that these two vibrant generations are pitted against each other in the media and for the attention of marketers. It shouldn’t be either/or; both Millennials and Baby Boomers, particularly female Baby Boomers, represent powerful economic forces. Marketers would be wise to welcome Baby Boomers into their fold and establish meaningful connections that prioritize this group.