Given their relative wealth and amount of free time, mid-lifers — otherwise known as the youngest baby boomers and the oldest Gen Xers — don't seem to be getting the proper respect and attention from travel marketers. A new report suggests that luxury marketers that ignore this group do so at their own peril.
Despite often being ignored by marketers, who tend to focus their attention on the millennials, older baby boomers and the so-called matures, mid-lifers (ages 45 to 59) form a vast and relatively affluent legion, representing 16 percent of the world’s population.
Global Mid-Lifers at a Crossroads: Lifestyles and Market Impact, a new report from Euromonitor International, examines the lifestyles and spending habits of members of this group, whose relatively high incomes make them an important market for luxury goods and premium products and services of all types, including, of course, travel.
This Mid-lifer subset comprises baby boomers born in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Younger baby boomers were the first to coin the term, “40 is the new 30.” Different from their generational cohorts born right after World War II, later boomers embrace the idea of staying active and continually evolving, no matter their age. Even though they may be in their 50s, many are embarking on new careers or new relationships.
According to the report, “Mid-lifers do not want to be ignored by businesses, but nor do they want to be singled out, stereotyped or treated in a patronizing manner.” That said, marketers cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach with this group, given the fact that some may be empty nesters, while others are raising younger children; or that some are married and others singles. That’s why the report notes, “Mid-lifers should be targeted in terms of life stage as much as age.” For example “for those harried parents squeezed between bringing up children and looking after aging parents, convenience and price will be key factors in purchasing decisions.”
What are the advantages are marketing to Mid-lifers? According to the report, overall, Mid-lifers have the highest spending power among all age groups. Many are at the peak of their careers, while others may have received inheritances or made money on real estate, or a combination of wealth thereof. This makes the group a logical target market for luxury and indulgence items.
The report also notes that wellness and relationships are the key to Mid-lifer’s sense of happiness. They are seeking a better work-life balance, and are choosing to slow down, change direction or fulfill lifelong dreams.
That may be one reason why divorce is becoming more common at this stage in life. Another is because divorce has lost its stigma in more traditional countries, such as Italy. The country’s 2015 divorzio veloce (quick divorce) procedure reportedly received 50,000 request within two months of being introduced.
Euromonitor cites a study by UK-based QualitySolicitors finding that “over- 45s who get divorced report feeling “relieved”, “excited” and “more confident. Some 17 percent of respondents said hitting middle age highlighted what they were missing in life, with divorce one of the first steps to nding happiness for 40 percent. That’s a huge opportunity to travel marketers, with an appeal to divorced spouses feeling the need for freedom and adventure at this particular juncture.
Another opportunity for travel marketers is this group’s intense emphasis on health and fitness. “Mid-lifers are focusing on improving their health and appearance through diet, exercise and lifestyle. Energetic pursuits have become popular among this age group the world over.”
According to Tim Simons, the founder of Build Coaching, an Australian business consulting company, who is quoted in the report, “Fitness is the new mid-life crisis. The old-school, traditional mid-life crisis has been about buying things and feeding the ego, and while fitness is also ego-related, this time it’s a physical thing, and a transformational thing.”
Growth in this segment isn’t slowing down anytime soon. The report notes, “Mid-life consumers will continue to represent a huge and lucrative market, with population numbers expected to expand by 10 percent globally.” Growth will stem largely from the Middle East and Africa (17 percent) and the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions (both 11 percent), although incomes will continue to be much higher in North America and Europe.
Separating China from the pack, Euromonitor International reports the massive country accounts for 26 percent of the world’s 45-59-year-olds. Incomes of those between the ages of 45-49 and 55-59 increased by 49 percent in constant value terms between 2010 and 2015. Given that China has the biggest and the fastest growing Mid-lifer demographic, one with a strong penchant for purchasing luxury, this is an extremely important market for the travel industry to pursue with alacrity.
Photo credit: Visitors to Yellowstone snap a photo. Mid-lifer tourist seek experiential, active vacations, according to a new report. Deanna Ting / Skift