5 Things the Timeshare Industry May Not Have Recognized About Baby Boomers

In the US, a record number of people turn 65 this year. They represent the oldest group among the Baby Boomer generation, and are the first Boomers to reach the official retirement age, yet with many of them having no plans to retire in any traditional sense.

Some will continue to work fulltime because the economy is pushing them to it; others will work part time or launch that dream career they were afraid to gamble on when they were younger. And yet there are many who feel their economic situation is sufficiently stable to permit them to kick back and let someone else deal with the daily grind while they focus on less stress, more fun, and a time to finally do many of things they have always wanted to do.

Dr. Auliana Poon, head of Tourism Intelligence International, describes the age 65’ers, saying, “They are more aware, active, Internet savvy and environmentally conscious and are also adventurous (soft, medium and hard) and willing to learn and experience new things unlike the senior citizens of the past.”

But don’t try to make too many generalizations about Boomers. They range in age (currently) from 44 to 65, and there are credible differences in those who grew up in the 1950’s compared to those who grew up, or were teens, in the 1970’s and even early 80’s. The over-fifty timeshare buyer has always been important to the vacation ownership market, but the timeshare industry has to resist the temptation to ‘clump them all together’ as a demographic or to view them as a stereotype.

5 Facts about Boomers that Impact Timeshare Sales

  • Boomers have money to spend. According to USA Today, “People 50 and older will inherit an estimated $14 trillion to $20 trillion during the next 20 years.”
  • Boomers represent the fastest growing demographic in social media. Social networking among 50-plus Internet users nearly doubled last year, going from 25 percent to 47 percent.
  • Boomers buy technology, with estimates indicating they spend more on techie toys and electronics than does any other segment of American society.
  • Boomers represent the first generation to be a target market “since birth.” Prior to there being televisions in every home, buying decisions regarding consumer goods in a child’s life were generally made by the parent. But with television advertising, companies could speak directly to children, tempting them with Barbie™, G.I.JOE, and the fastest sneakers on the block. Boomers have been making consumer buying decisions longer than any other demographic.
  • Boomer research published in the book Boomer Consumer: Ten New Rules for Marketing to America’s Largest, Wealthiest and Most Influential Group by Matt Thornhill and John Martin, points out that Boomers see old age as commencing at around age 73, meaning that they do not perceive themselves to be “old.” The challenge for timeshare sales and timeshare resales companies is to be certain that their own marketing departments don’t see this segment of the population as old either.