The latest issue of The McKinsey Quarterly discusses the opportunities around “Serving aging baby boomers” and talks about the future social needs of that large demographic group.
Creating community. The need for social connections is nothing new, but loneliness will be more acute for boomers than for any past generation because they will be less able to rely on traditional sources of community. Forty-six percent of the boomers will be unmarried by 2015, compared with 40 percent of the members of the silent generation at the same age; barely half of the boomers believe they can count on their families for a safety net, as compared with 60 percent of the younger members of the silent generation; and just 30 percent attend church weekly, as opposed to nearly 40 percent of the latter. These findings imply that loneliness will afflict more than one in five boomers, who will turn to several new sources of community.
Affinity groups. Given the diminished importance of traditional sources of community, boomers’ interests are likely to play a larger role in creating social outlets. Affinity groups have always sprung up around individual pursuits, such as cooking, reading, photography, or home improvement. As tech-savvy boomers age, these groups will increasingly meet both online (regularly) and in person (periodically). Already, boomer-specific groups—such as Boomj.com, which offers a social-networking service for boomers, and Eons.com, which combines on- and offline communities—are emerging.
Flickr picture by Bandita
What it means: I often talk about teens and tweens’ online behaviors in this blog as a way to forecast the future but it’s important, especially for traditional media companies, not to forget this very powerful consumer demographics. According to McKinsey, “by 2015, boomers will control nearly 60% of US net wealth and account for 40% of US consumption and income.” There’s clearly an opportunity in various social vertical sites but local will play a big part in there as well.