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Why are Baby Boomers Targets for Direct Mailers?


As a follow-up to our Press Release this week about the 2nd quarter 2007 Junk Mail Report it appears we have created some discussion about Baby Boomers and who exactly is in this demographic and why are they one of the most targeted groups of shoppers.

According to Brent Green from and Author of “Marketing to Leading-Edge Baby Boomers”, Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964, the youngest being 43, the oldest being 61. Our over 65 group is usually referred to as the Silent Generation or G.I. Generation.

When we wrote the article we were looking at our entire demographic of over 45’s, which includes the Baby Boomers and Silent Generation and makes up for 63% of consumers who were polled in our survey report this past quarter.

In our surveys we are seeing a definite increase in the numbers in these age groups and Brent very studiously points a few reasons why.

He says that the Baby Boomers are a group who actually fueled the growth in the Direct Mail industry in the 1970’s… ” The reality is that Boomers are among the most direct mail responsive of all demographic groups. Nobody likes “junk mail,” but well targeted mail is a delight to most Boomers who, for example, fueled the growth of the catalog industry from the mid-1970’s onward.”

He also says that “Busy Boomers love catalogs, as long as those catalogs dovetail with their shopping and lifestyle preferences.” and “The influential over-50 segment has $2 trillion in annual spending power and today controls 50% of all discretionary income. Even more staggering is an unfolding demographic truth: more than 30 percent of Americans will be over 50 by 2010”. So what does this say about the direction of Direct Mail industry? Are we in for a dramatic increase in the amount of junk mail we receive?

At we want to help these demographic groups define their preferences more clearly and in turn help catalogers more directly market to the groups of individuals who actually want to receive a specific type of direct mail. In general we get far too much direct mail we do not want and immediately throw it out. According to our report nearly 60% of our consumers polled throw it out before the day is up. They walk from the mail box to the recycling bin and don’t even open the catalogs in a lot of cases.

I myself love catalogs because my life is so busy with kids and work, but I only like to receive the ones I prefer to shop from. I have used to achieve this in my own household. In actual fact I greatly prefer to find a catalog company online for shopping purposes. Why bother with paper when it is all online. Our survey actually shows that 41.1% of consumers polled would rather shop online too.

Brent also has an important point about getting in your car to shop at the mall, a further waste of resources getting there and, “…have you considered that retail shopping also creates a carbon footprint…” I do agree but what about supporting our local businesses and towns city taxes? These valuable $’s go towards creating more parks, schools, bike trails, etc… Can we not create a balance between the two? tries to empower the general consumer, including the Baby Boomers and Silent Generation, to do their part for the environment in any way we can. We do not want consumers to stop shopping all together, we just want to create a balance between the marketers and the shoppers.


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