Beyond The Episode: Dispelling Senior Population Myths
The September episode of The Marketing Insider | A Claritas Podcast went live on September 15th. You can find the episode, Dispelling Senior Population Myths, here. During the recording, I spoke with Claritas Account Director, Kyle Pechak. We were also joined by Ryan D’Ambrosio, Senior Research Director at Rain the Growth Agency.
We talked all about the senior population in this episode. From false stereotypes and myths, to their digital behaviors and more, we covered a lot of ground and made a strong argument for why marketers should shift and allocate more than the underwhelming 5-10% of their current dedicated advertising budgets to reach seniors. But, while you’ll hear all about this and more when you listen to the episode, 30-minutes just wasn’t enough time to discuss everything. Because of this, we took some of the conversation offline and put it in this blog.
What Insights Will The 2020 Census Provide?
The 2020 Census may have finished collection, but most data providers will not be incorporating the insights into their own solutions for quite some time. When I asked Kyle how the diversity of the senior population compares to that of the Gen Z and Millennial populations, he said we’ll have to wait until we have the Census data to do an actual comparison. He did, however, call out the fact that Claritas has highly accurate projection data we can look to for current guidance. For example, if you look at the Baby Boomer population in 2021, we estimate them to be about 11% Hispanic, 6% Non-Hispanic Asian, and 10% Non-Hispanic Black. Americans 75 and older will be slightly less diverse, which is probably not surprising, just given when they were born. If we compare those numbers to the projected Gen Z population in 2026, they are understandably more diverse overall.
In our research prior to recording this episode, we came across the Census Bureau’s National Demographic Analysis that shows between 2010 and 2020, the number of people over 55 grew by 27%, which is 20x larger than the growth rate of collective population under 55. The largest driver of this is, of course, the Baby Boomer generation. They passed the age of 65 during the past decade, increasing the size of the 65-74 year old age group by half.
DMAs with the largest shifts over time
We didn’t dive too deeply into this topic during the podcast, but it is something we thought was important to share. Most brands looking to run campaigns will evaluate which geographies are the best market to introduce or promote their goods and services. So which DMAs have seen the largest shifts among the senior population? In this case, it’s all about Texas. From 2010-2021, Austin saw over 30% growth, and they’re projected to grow more than 8% in the next five years. Odessa-Midland saw more than 20% growth from 2010-2021, and will see another 7%+ in growth by 2026. Other Texas DMAs that stood out with strong growth numbers were Dallas-Ft. Worth and San Antonio. Marketers looking to reach the 55+ population might not have to look any further than that single state, but it’s still smart to assess the market for opportunity outside of looking at pure demographics.
On the flip side, a few DMAs have seen negative growth over time. This means they may need deeper analysis by your research team before you consider marketing to seniors in those regions. For example, Bluefield, West Virginia had a growth decline of nearly 10% from 2010 – 2021. By 2026, they’ll see another -3% growth. That’s not as bad as Greenwood-Greenville, Mississippi though. They saw -14% growth from 2010-2021. Unfortunately, in the next five years it won’t get much better. They’re expected to see another -5% growth among the senior population.
Seniors are often more tech savvy than they sometimes get credit for – especially those still in the workforce. According to AARP, from 2019-2020 more than 50% of “older Americans” as they call them, bought some sort of tech product. Smartphones topped the list, with computers and laptops coming in second. Smart home devices and wearable devices were also in the top products purchased. This mirrors what Ryan said about how companies can leverage technology to reach senior populations. From connecting them with family, to monitoring health, and keeping them safe, tech devices offer numerous benefits to seniors. Marketers, take note!
We hope September’s episode of The Marketing Insider helped you see the opportunity senior generations may offer your business. Or at the very least, we hope we were able to dispel some common myths about their behaviors. Thank you again to our guests Kyle Pechak and Ryan D’Ambrosio for providing their vast knowledge on this month’s topic. If you listened to the episode, we thank you as well. If you want to meet better prospects, market more precisely and improve your ROI, contact us by visiting www.claritas.com/contact/.