By 2017, the Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, is expected to account for 50% of the US population and control 70% of the country's disposable income, according to a report by Nielsen. Moreover, Boomers stand to inherit $15 trillion over the next 20 years.

Below, additional findings from the Nielsen report titled "Introducing Boomers: Marketing's Most Valuable Generation," conducted in collaboration with BoomAgers.

Now some 80 million strong, Boomers constitute 44% of the US population, 49% of CPG (consumer packaged goods) sales in the US (roughly $230 billion annually), 40% of wireless subscriber services, and 41% of those purchasing Apple computers:

In addition, Boomers make up one-third (33%) of all online and social media users. Close to another third of them—29 million—say they are heavy users of the Internet with over 8 million of them spending 20+ hours a week online:


Internet users over age 50 are driving social networking growth: Boomers' use of the social net has nearly doubled over the past year, to 42%. Some 53% of Boomers use Facebook as of 2012.

Boomers are also prolific online shoppers: 33% shop online, spending almost $7 billion annually.

As they age out of the work force, 67% of Boomers plan to spend more time on their hobbies and interests, moving from a life dedicated to making money to one that is directed to spending money, according to the study.

Boomer Anxiety

However, many Boomers are anxious about their futures, and are more focused on the challenge of finding a secure retirement, according to separate research from the AARP.

Among surveyed adults age 50 and older, concerns about retirement are the major driver of anxiety:

  • 72% of non-retired Boomers believe they will likely be forced to delay retirement, and 50% have little confidence they'll ever be able to retire.
  • 65% have little confidence that they'll have the means to live comfortably in retirement.
  • 59% fear that the negative effects of the economic downturn on their retirement savings will force them to rely more heavily on Social Security and Medicare—programs they are concerned that elected officials aren't doing enough to protect.

"The results belie a common stereotype of boomers as 'comfortable and living high on the hog compared to everyone else,'" said pollster Greg Strimple of GS Strategy Group, which along with Hart Research Associates helped conduct the survey for AARP.

"You see these numbers, and they're anything but. In fact, it's surprising to see that 50- to 64-year-olds are the most politically and economically anxious voters."

About the data: Nielsen findings are based on multiple sources, including census data, media tracking information, and Scanner data from Nielsen's Retail Measurement system, compiled in 2012 with BoomAgers LLC. The AARP findings are based on a survey of 1,852 US registered voters, including 1,331 adults age 50+, conducted in 2012.  

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Boomers: America's Most Valuable Generation

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