The growth of an unstoppable market
This is the definition of the baby boomers from Wikipedia.
A Baby boomer is someone who was born during a period of increased birth rates or Baby boom, and the term is particularly applied to those born during the post-World War II period of increased birth rates. In the United States, the term is iconic and more properly capitalized as Baby Boomers.
These people are significant in the formation of a new economy of supply in demand. Never in the history of man, has the baby boomers generation sparked such a massive market gap to be filled.
We all heard of first mover’s advantage, where the pioneer of a new market has considerable advantages. If successful, his market dominance gives him a considerable advantage compared to the others who come in later and try to differentiate themselves either on price or service rather than innovation. Furthermore, market dominance allows one to set the barriers of entry or the standard of quality.
Back to the example of Bill Gates:
If you were to own a large portion of Microsoft shares during its inception, where would you be today? Of course not all of us will be able to proudly proclaim that I was there when it started. Most people didn’t identify the trend and come in when it is too late!
The same would also apply to big name companies like Yahoo! and Google.
It is no point trying to get into a saturated market. There will be too many barriers of entries and competitive forces in the market. What we need to do is identify the needs of the market BEFORE it saturates or even better, before it starts.
We can set the trend instead of following one!
The baby boomers are the main key to this role because of their buying power as well as their sheer numbers. Large numbers will be the key because the first movers, who position themselves strategically, will sell product after product to a hungry market and have his or her financial position secured for decades.
In the next chapter, we will explore where these baby boomers come from and how to anticipate their demands from a historical perspective.
When did it happen?
The baby boomers applied to people who are born after 2nd World War II and before the Vietnam War, thus possibly comprising more than one generation.
Most people speculate that year will be around 1946 to 1964 but the exact year is hard to determine because it might vary from place to place.
These boomers within that time frame are significant to predicting the market demand and the timing as well.
We are estimating that there are about 76 million American children born between 1945 and 1964. Boomers account for about 39 percent of Americans over the age of 18 and 29 percent of the total population. They will single handily determine tomorrow’s hottest products which mean they can start and destroy trends.
For example, the baby boomers are also responsible for starting and ending the housing boom.
When the boomers were all grown up, they needed houses to live in. Developments went into full swing.
Steve Gillon has suggested in his analysis is this:
The one thing that sets the baby boomers apart from other generational groups is the fact that "almost from the time they were conceived, Boomers were dissected, analyzed, and pitched to by modern marketers, who reinforced a sense of generational distinctiveness.
With such massive market potential and buying power, we can use history to predict and teach us what the latest trend is because of these baby boomers.
The Cultural Identity of a world changing generation
The baby boomers were the first generation of Earth to be raised on Pop culture and television.
The culture at that time is more hedonistic as compared to the past.
Music that drove their parents crazy became their purpose in life. This explains the phenomenal fame of legends like Elvis and The Beatles (Who incidentally till today, remains more popular than most one-hit wonder pop groups or modern icons)
Big names like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Led Zeppelin defined the voice of that generation.
In other words, they set the standard to what is ‘hot’ and what is not!
The boomers were living in an age where Music seemed to have a more influential power compared to weapons of mass destruction. In the past, people would think you were crazy if you wore torn clothing or upside-down garments. People at that time were not as hard up as today if they were to miss the latest movie or driving the hottest car in town.
In other words, buying power and market demand were not as trend sensitive in the past compared to today.
If I were to target the boomer market, what would I be focusing on? Cosmetics and beauty seem to be making a fortune today. A slimming ad would cost tens of thousands of dollars and newspapers and magazines publish this on a DAILY basis.
Gyms and fitness equipment are also a hot market. You wouldn’t imagine someone in the 19th century invents something like a gym. The people there would be too busy plowing fields or working in a factory (and they would get all the exercise they need). The boomers have a relative easier life and are able to focus more on those pleasures above.
So where does it health and wellness industry come in?
In the next Lesson, we will analyze the trends of these baby boomers and examine their buying power in the health and wellness market.