Natural Foods Merchandiser

Boomer men, a $1 trillion market

Boomer men: There are a lot of them. They have a lot of money. And they like to shop.

That’s according to a new report by Harleysville, Pa.-based Natural Marketing Institute titled “Back in the High Life Again: Soaring Opportunities to Market to Baby Boomer Men.”

Nearly 6,000 boomer men turn 50 every day – one turns 60 every 15 seconds – and all that hard-charging work ethic translates into $1 trillion in spending power, according to the report co-authored by NMI managing partner Steve French and Brent Green, who heads Denver-based marketing communication firm Brent Green & Associates.

“Boomer men are less affected by the recession,” French said. “They represent tremendous targeting opportunities across a range of industries.”

Forty percent of men do not feel that the amount of stress in their lives has increased due to the current economy while less than 30 percent of women feel their stress has not increased, the report says.

And boomer men are increasingly doing the grocery shopping. Less than a decade ago, men made up only 20 percent of primary grocery shoppers. Today, it’s about a third.

Boomer men are more likely to spend than save – 37 percent of men vs. 28 percent of women. They make far more impulse purchases – 25 percent of men vs. a comparatively miniscule 9 percent of women, the report says.

Although the report doesn’t break down results for the naturals industry, French says anecdotal evidence shows there’s plenty for naturals companies to capitalize on. He sees opportunities in personal care products, which are targeting men more and more, as well as supplements.

“Five or 10 years ago, we never would have thought we’d see face lotion for men,” he said.

Impulse buying is another area. “Take a look at the product mix in natural food stores. There are more specialty gourmet items. Men come in to get a quick lunch. These are things that are not necessarily planned. The overall likelihood to make a list is not as high in natural food stores,” French said.

And despite the growing popularity of private label grocery items, boomer men buy more national brands than generic – 46 percent vs. 26 percent for women – though French said the reasons aren’t clear. He speculates that men might not be as familiar with private label products, and might even think of them as the old black-and-white labeled generic items of long ago.

As French sees it, the report’s results present opportunities for naturals retailers and marketers.
“Boomer men are definitely a market that’s underserved,” he said.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.