There are around 75 million baby boomers in the US that are at or close
to retirement age. They represent around $3.2 trillion in annual
spending power. Talk about a HUGE market!
In looking closer at the baby boomer market, this segment of the population is getting older. As they get older, their needs change and so do their buying habits. Given the massive size of the market opportunity, companies that cater to the baby boomer market have the potential for great success. However, this is a sophisticated set of buyers. In order to effectively attract and win over this crowd, it takes new and innovative ways of thinking.
There are some companies, however, that have proven themselves to be up to the task. Here’s a look at some startups serving the baby boomer market in new and exciting ways, hopefully sparking innovative ideas for you to apply to your own business in reaching baby boomers effectively as well.
The divorce rate in the United States is exponentially higher than it was when boomers were born. Accordingly, an increasing number of people find themselves on the cusp of retirement without a spouse. Yet, many folks in their 50s and 60s don’t want to try to fit into the bar scene, and may even feel out of place on a massive dating website like eHarmony. The founders of seniormatch.com have found a way to cater to the over-50 crowd. The site uses the same basic principles as most dating sites, including creating profiles and posting pictures. So far, the site has become one of the premier senior dating sites, hosting everything from senior chats to blogs to a senior fashion show.
Boomer women are just as interested as younger women in issues like fashion, beauty, relationships, money, and sex. Yet Cosmo caters to a decidedly younger crowd with different concerns. VibrantNation is a community where boomer women can consume woman-related health, beauty, and lifestyle information, as well as connect with other boomer women.
3. Retirement Media, Inc.
Retirement Media owns a series of boomer-related websites and services. Their areas of concern include everything from a database that contains retirement community ratings and reviews to information about community senior citizens centers to a general boomer-related information portal.
In the same way that boomers can get lost on dating websites, they can also get lost on job websites. Navigating Monster.com and competing against young, hungry professionals can be a big challenge, and often leaves boomers in the dust. Seniors4Hire gives boomers a place to find companies that are particularly interested in hiring older Americans, and helps facilitate a return to the workforce after retirement.
If there’s one thing baby boomers are, it’s skeptical of the establishment (even though, technically, they now are the establishment in many cases). This is as true for medical care as it is for anything else. Zeel is a service that connects boomers and others with alternative medical treatment options like acupuncture and massage. This startup has raised more than $1.5 million, and promises to be one of the biggest alternative health-related startups for boomers.
As boomers get older and face more and more health problems, they’re constantly finding new ways to communicate with family and keep them updated regarding their health concerns. Boomers are often skeptical of social networking sites like Facebook when it comes to personal information like a post-surgical update, however. CarePages caters to the boomer demographic, allowing users to create an information hub from which friends and family (when supplied with a password) can get up to date information. While the site can be used by anyone with an ongoing health concern, all of the marketing for CarePages is focused on boomers and other older Americans.
If there is one thing boomers are known for, it’s bucking tradition. A recent survey suggests that around two thirds of boomers don’t want a traditional funeral, for example. Not only that, boomers don’t want the dreary experience of going to a funeral home to plan their funerals and final disposition; they’d rather do it online. MyWonderfulLife has raised over $20 million in investment capital, and shows plenty of potential for capturing some of the $14 billion per year funeral industry.
It’s not just startups that are serving the baby boomer market today. Many existing brands with products that boomers have used throughout their lives - from shampoo to soda to automobiles - are being rebranded and remarketed to seniors entering a new stage of their lives.
Baby boomers have been the largest population boost in American history. According to AARP, by 2015 those aged 50 and older will represent 45% of the entire US population. It’s no wonder that there are so many startups out there finding new and innovative ways to get their share of the baby boomers’ bucks. And one can only wonder what new and innovative things your company can dream up to better serve this unique demographic, as well.