What an interesting image – the Pig in the Python – the title of David Cork’s mid-nineties book on “How to Prosper from the aging Baby Boom”. Boomers are the generation born between 1946 and 1964. At close to 90 million people, they are the largest market in the US and Canada – the proverbial pig in the python.
Boomers are also the wealthiest generation. This was brought home to us on our recent trip to a five star resort in the Dominican Republic. (Relax…Imbi & I got a killer last minute deal that was about 40% of the normal rate – we do love the Internet.) Most of the people on our flight were boomers, geezers (Tom Peters’ favourite term for Boomers’ parents) and their families. Gen X and younger were few and far between. They didn’t have the disposable income to make the trip.
An AARP study shows that by 2001, Boomers accounted for over 50% of consumer spending and that that percentage will increase as more and more boomers cross the 50+ threshold – at a rate of close to 10,000 per day.
What of the famed 18-49 demographic at which marketers (and most churches) have aimed their ad dollars? With the reality being most ad dollars are aimed at the lower end of that demographic. (Watch the two PBS Frontline documentaries, The Persuaders and The Merchants of Cool for more insight into this.) This market is increasing at a much slower pace and marketers ignore the 50+ market at their own peril as a recent Toronto Star article suggests.
What does this mean for the church? A lot of things, actually – and I’ll look at this in Part 2.