Baby Boomers to retailers: Ignore us at your peril

Following are comments from a recent Retail Wire discussion about baby boomers’ shopping habits as they age. Kimberly Clark is collaborating with some of its big retail customers (like Walgreens) to pay closer attention to signing, accessbility and other mobility-related issues. My argument is that marketers and retailers need to pay attention to the Baby Boomer mindset, not just physical issues:

As a certified Baby Boomer (born 1954), I have always wondered why CPG companies and retailers have seemingly been more focused on a twentysomething target customer, at least in terms of their sales pitch and merchandise content. (But I may be just a typical self-absorbed Boomer.) I think there are a couple of issues worth focusing on: First, the very real physical changes that will affect the health and mobility of our biggest and most affluent population bubble. In this regard, Kimberly Clark and its retail partners are conducting a valid experiment.

But just as important is the psychographic makeup of the Baby Boomers, if it’s even possible to classify their mindset. There is likely to be a “forever young” mindset (just as there has always been with this age demographic) that runs somewhat contrary to the physical reality of aging discussed above. It’s hard to picture Baby Boomers suddenly turning into their parents or grandparents — attitudinally — no matter how much trouble they may have reading the labels or reaching the top shelf.

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