Finding a Niche in the Online Baby Boomer Market - dummies

By Shannon Belew, Joel Elad

Products that baby boomers are interested in purchasing online are different than earlier generations. Accepting a gold watch upon retirement and settling into a comfortable recliner is no longer the status quo. This generation is bursting at the seams to stay active, fit, and involved.

However, older baby boomers have different preferences from the younger consumers in this generation. One of the biggest differences is the interest in healthcare services and products by baby boomers in their 70s. Whereas those still in their 50s and 60s have a strong propensity for wellness and beauty products, specifically anti-aging products. Here are areas with great niche appeal to the baby boomer market:

  • Convenience: The do-it-yourself (DIY) trend is passé for boomers. Many of them think that the convenience of having someone else do tasks is worth the price. Any type of product or service that saves time is a winner in this market.
  • Cosmetics: On average, boomers consider themselves 12 years younger than their actual birth date indicates. Both men and women are willing to invest in helping their outsides appear as healthy as their inner selves feel.
  • Customization: Boomers are a diverse bunch who often reject any type of labels. You can’t pigeonhole this group into any single category. One 65-year-old may be retiring while another is launching a new business. Those two people may be the same age, but that doesn’t mean that they’re experiencing the same things. The good news is that this individuality opens up another lucrative online market opportunity for you. Customization, specialization, a niche within a niche — call it what you like. Focusing your product base to a boomer’s current lifestyle circumstances, rather than to an age-based generalization, often equals profit.
  • Home experience: Thanks to the interest in second homes, vacation properties, and a desire to live well in a primary residence, boomers have many houses to maintain. This demand creates a lucrative market for stylish household appliances, upscale linens, entertainment products and services, and many other household items. Big box retailers like Lowes and Home Depot have seen healthy sales from baby boomers, and there’s no reason you can’t create an online business to focus on a niche within this area of interest.
  • Healthcare: For boomers already in their 70s, there’s an enhanced focus on anything related to maintaining or treating your health. Baby boomers also don’t mind spending money on convenience, or any product or service that makes it easier to manage their health.
  • Recreation: Boomers can always find time for play. Recreational items, ranging from RVs to Vespa scooters (and everything in between), fit nicely with the active, adventurous lifestyle of most boomers.

    You don’t have to sell a 16-foot RV to find success in the recreation category. Instead, focus on a smaller niche, such as specialized accessories for the large vehicles.

  • Pets: It’s true that the pet industry is a lucrative market that can support many different niche businesses. But baby boomers play a big role in the pet industry, accounting for 45 percent of all pet-related spending, which adds up to more than $30 billion. That opens the door for some interesting online concepts geared toward older pet owners.
  • Travel: Helping boomers explore exotic locations has proven to be a good strategy for several online travel sites. Any product or service that makes traveling more comfortable and enjoyable can result in a winning e-business for you. In fact, every year baby boomers spend more than $120 billion on leisure travel, according to the AARP; this includes “once in a lifetime” destinations and travel to warm destinations. You don’t have to be an online travel agency to take advantage of this trend; instead try to imagine services or products that would complement these highly mobile baby boomers.

The moral of this story is simple: You have an unlimited number of market opportunities when you’re wooing baby boomers, so use your imagination and have fun with this exciting group of online consumers.