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Many Conventional Views about Baby Boomer Shoppers are Incorrect

Baby boomers represent a potential $46 billion opportunity as well as a challenge for today’s retailers, according to a new report, “The IRI Baby Boomers Report: Understanding the Emerging Trends in Baby Boomer Spending” from Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), the leading global provider of enterprise market information solutions. At approximately 78 million people, baby boomers are one of the largest buying groups in America. The new report closely analyzes this important consumer segment and uncovers new insights that empower retail and manufacturing executives to understand, benchmark and predict baby boomer shopping trends.

“Each baby boomer segment will experience a broad range of lifestyle changes in the coming years that will dramatically change where they shop and what they buy,” said IRI President of Retail Solutions North America and Strategic Consulting Thom Blischok. “Many retailer strategies today assume that boomers are a homogeneous group, so their strategies are too general to be effective. ‘The IRI Baby Boomers Report’ will help retailers understand current and future spending shifts of the different boomer segments across categories and channels. This approach will also help retailers develop strategies that effectively segment the boomer population in specific markets and meet their changing needs.”

Emerging and Future Shopping Trends
“The IRI Baby Boomers Report” uncovers emerging and future trends across 25 food, beverage, and non-food categories across seven major retail food channels. The report includes a deep analysis of purchase drivers and behaviors of each boomer segment. For each of the 25 categories, the report includes an in-depth analysis of consumption and growth patterns by age group, the performance of private label in boomer shopper segments, boomer-driven product innovation, and channel shifting trends. A few of the findings from the report that were driven by consumer panel data and analysis from IRI include:

  • In some key categories, baby boomer shoppers are more likely to buy branded products than younger shoppers.
  • Americans older than age 60 are leading the spending shift towards supercenters.
  • Since 2002, baby boomers without kids have increased their food and beverage spending at twice the rate of total category growth.
  • During the next decade, an enormous share of CPG spending will be generated by “Truman boomers,” those currently in their 50s, who are moving into their 60s. Spending is expected to decline for shoppers in their 40s due to large-scale demographic shifts.
  • As boomer segments age, their spending across food, beverage, and non-food categories can have significant differences, highlighting the need for retailers and manufacturers to tailor their marketing approach to each boomer segment.

In order to help retailers take action on the insights, the report includes a comprehensive retailer action plan. This action plan allows retailers to identify and capitalize on boomer shopper opportunities within their own operation using the IRI recommended four-phase process. The methodology is designed to help retailers:

  • Value the size of the business opportunity and resulting investment implications.
  • Utilize baby boomer segmentation as a means to differentiate from a retailer’s competitors.
  • Understand boomer spending nuances and proactively adjust store offerings.
  • Validate the required steps towards success and execute the process appropriately.

“The IRI report offers fact-based support for impactful boomer shopper segmentation, store clustering, and other initiatives that retailers can implement across both traditional and non-traditional retail channels,” added Blischok. “Retailers who leverage these new insights about baby boomer segments will reap the benefits with new center store growth.”

About the Report
Findings presented in “The IRI Baby Boomers Report: Understanding the Emerging Trends in Baby Boomer Spending,” are based upon an extensive analysis of consumer data from the IRI Consumer Network™. For more information about the report, visit

About Information Resources, Inc.
Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) is the world’s leading provider of enterprise market information solutions and services, empowering its clients to grow their business profitably in a complex marketplace. Driving the transformation of the consumer packaged goods (CPG), retail, and healthcare industries, only IRI provides a unique combination of real-time market content, advanced analytics, enterprise performance management software, and professional services. The company’s portfolio of services, solutions, and technology enable leading retailers and their suppliers around the globe to see what they are missing, act faster with greater confidence and win at the shelf. Ninety-five percent of the FORTUNE Global 500 in CPG and retail leverage IRI to power their business. For more information, visit


By K.S. Date 05-09-2006 Print this article




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