retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The New York Times this morning has a piece about how traditional marketing theory – that young consumers (say, between the ages of 18 and 40) are to be valued because they have more money, a willingness to try new products and a greater ability to show though leadership – is yet another victim of the recession.

The reason? These same young consumers may be among the first people to be laid off by the companies for which they work, while their elders – the baby boomers born between 1946 and 1964 – are in a position where they may have paid off their mortgages and may be keeping their jobs…which puts them in a better position to actually buy things than younger shoppers. These aging baby boomers also tend to be more aspirational and active than their parents were at the same age, which makes them a riper target for marketers.

This means that advertising is being created that focuses on this demographic by companies that range from Kraft to Procter & Gamble to Target, and that networks like CBS, which appeals to older viewers with shows like “CSI” and “NCIS,” now consistently wins the ratings wars.

KC's View:
As someone who was born smack in the middle of the baby boom – 1954 – I’d like to think that this argument is completely true. But I’m not entirely convinced by the suggestion that baby boomers are keeping their jobs longer than younger people…simply because I know a lot of people my age (mostly buy not exclusively guys) who wish that their age and seniority had worked in their favor.

Still, it is nice to be appreciated.