The “Baby Boomer” cohort has had a significant impact on the demographics in the United States ever since their birth. In fact, by 2029, more than 20 percent of the total U.S. population will be over the age of 65. However, according to an article in Bloomberg, many automakers are sacrificing present opportunities by focusing too intently on younger consumers. Today, Baby Boomers are the most likely demographic to purchase a new vehicle.
The definition of a “Baby Boomer” typically includes anyone born between 1946 and 1964. In recent years, Baby Boomers have supplanted their children as the top car buying demographic. A study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute found that Baby Boomers in the 55-64 age range have become the group most likely to buy a new vehicle. Bloomberg believes that the industry is currently investing billions of dollars in an attempt to appeal to younger consumers, but those dollars would be more wisely spent on vehicles that suit baby boomers.
In the past, the rate at which older generations purchased new vehicles would slow as they began to approach their twilight years. The Baby Boomers, however, are the first generation to buck that trend. Bloomberg believes that studies have shown that “there are plenty of miles left in Boomers’ automotive passions and pocketbooks.” If it is true that there is substantial value for automakers to shift their attention to Baby Boomers, it becomes important to look at what they value most in their vehicles.
Baby Boomers are in a unique position when it comes to their vehicular needs. While their children have long ago flown the nest, some are new grandparents, which requires a larger vehicle to shuttle grandkids around town. On the other hand, many have more disposable income than other generations, which grants them a newfound sense of freedom in their purchases. As they are no longer constrained by the number of children at home, they are free to purchase unique and exciting vehicles
More than any other generation, Baby Boomers make buying an American-made vehicle a top priority. According to one study, 91% of Baby Boomers are open to purchasing an American-made vehicle, more than any other generation. There are several factors that make Baby Boomers so bullish on buying American vehicles. First, they believe that the quality of American-made vehicles has significantly improved in the last 10 years. Second, Baby Boomers want to utilize their spending to help keep Americans working. Lastly, they believe that “buying local” is an ethos that extends further than just buying groceries. Baby Boomers want their vehicles made in the United States by American workers, and they have the spending power to show it.
There is undoubtedly great value in looking forward and anticipating trends that will shape the future. Millennials will one day enjoy their reign as the dominant car buying demographic and the auto industry should keep an eye on those developments. Until then, Baby Boomers will continue to be the prevailing car-buying demographic and will look for American automakers to produce vehicles that will keep Americans working and that will be suitable to their unique situations.