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Why Baby Boomers Are a Business Bonanza

Baby Boomer executives . / Credit: Baby boomer executives image via Shutterstock

Baby boomers are living large and enjoying every minute of it. And that’s good news for any business that caters to the desires of this cohort of 81 million 45- to 64-year-olds who make up 35 percent of the U.S. adult population, a new study shows.

Though the first wave of boomers has now chronologically reached the foothills of traditional retirement age, they are far from being an idle lot, according to a new study by Scarborough, a local market consumer research firm.  In the past 12 months, the study found, boomers have gone to a professional sporting event (36 percent), attended live theater (22 percent), visited an art museum (14 percent), attended a rock concert (12 percent) and gone to the symphony or opera (9 percent).

The chances are good that they didn't consume all this entertainment on empty stomachs. The survey found that they are 11 percent more likely than all American adults to have eaten at a seafood restaurant or steakhouse in the past 30 days.

[The Unretiring Kind: Boomers Gear Up for Second Careers]

In addition to being an active generation, they're also a mobile one. Baby boomers are 9 percent more likely than all U.S. adults to have traveled domestically for business or vacation purposes in the past year and 3 percent more likely to have engaged in foreign travel for business or vacation purposes in the past three years. Their enthusiasm for travel also keeps them feeling lucky – 9 percent of baby boomers have visited Las Vegas in the past year and 34 percent visited other casinos in the same time frame, Scarborough found.

They also like to live well when they're at home. Nearly half (45 percent) of baby boomers live in a household with a digital video recorder and 30 percent live in a household with a video game system. Baby boomers are 21 percent more likely than all American adults to live in a household with a pool, hot tub or spa. Seven percent of baby boomers live in a household with a motorcycle. Baby boomers also take great pride in the appearance of their homes as 27 percent have had landscaping done in the past year and they are 21 percent more likely than all American adults to have spent $10,000 or more on home improvements in the past year.

But they're not resting on their laurels. The boomers work hard to pay for the good things in life. They are 22 percent more likely than all American adults to be employed full-time and are 32 percent more likely to own a home valued at $500,000 or more. They are 23 percent more likely than all American adults to have an annual household income of $100,000 or more and are 9 percent more likely to hold at least a college degree.

The biggest spenders of the baby boom generation are the high-earning baby boomers (HEBBs), defined by Scarborough as baby boomers who live in households that have an annual income of $100,000 or more. HEBBs account for 9 percent (20 million) of the American adult population and are more than twice as likely as all American adults to own a second home or other real estate property for investment. They were nearly two and a half times more likely than all Americans to have spent $10,000 or more in the past year on remodeling their homes. HEBBs live in households that are 82 percent more likely than all American households to have a 401(k) plan.

HEBBs can be found in large cities where earning potential is reportedly higher. Among the top local markets for HEBBs are: Washington, D.C. (18 percent of all adults); San Francisco (16 percent); New York (14 percent) and Boston (14 percent).

"Baby boomers remain an essential demographic since they reap the rewards of having had long careers and no longer have young children to care for," said Brian Condon, Scarborough's executive vice president of commercial development. "Baby boomers represent a segment of the American population that has a thirst for adventure, and the financial freedom to explore that passion."

Reach BusinessNewsDaily senior writer Ned Smith at nsmith@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @nedbsmith.

Ned Smith

Ned was senior writer at Sweeney Vesty, an international consulting firm, and was Vice President of communications for iQuest Analytics. Before that, he has been a web editor and managed the Internet and intranet sites for Citizens Communications. He began his journalism career as a police reporter with the Roanoke (Va.) Times, and was managing editor of American Way magazine and senior editor of Us. He was a Captain in the U.S. Air Force and has a masters in journalism from the University of Arizona.

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