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Survey: Marketers Don't Grasp Boomer Habits

Large gaps shown in beliefs vs. reality

Marketers missing out on baby boomer money

Gregory Bull/AP

Are you brand loyal, digitally savvy and willing to spend? See how others perceive your generation.

Marketers significantly underestimate the spending power of boomers and overestimate it for millennials, according to a new survey by a brand-consultancy group.

The survey, by Age of Majority, found that 72 percent of marketers underestimate how much consumers 55 and older spend, and 86 percent overestimate how much those under 35 spend.

"Given the potential size of the prize for brands that better understand and serve the mature consumer, it is an investment with a huge upside,” Jeff Weiss, president and CEO of Age of Majority, said in a statement.

Among the survey’s other findings:

  • Marketers are far more likely than consumers to believe that people over 50 are more brand loyal and less digitally savvy and that they spend less money than younger adults. The biases about digital skills and spending were particularly strong in marketers under 35, who, the survey states, are twice as likely as marketers 55 and older to have North America-wide sales and marketing decision authority.
  • About two-thirds of all consumers say that viewing someone much older than them in an advertisement would not affect their likelihood to purchase the product. But about half of marketers think that targeting older consumers with their brand will cause consumers under 35 to feel alienated.
  • Seventy-three percent of consumers 55 and older think that marketers don’t communicate with them effectively. 

The survey of 1,284 randomly selected American adults and 202 marketing and sales decision makers was conducted by strategic insights and research firm Blink Insights, on behalf of Age of Majority.