California Seniors – “What’s in their wallet?”


CMOs should consider these 5 dominant forces in their senior strategy development.

They are the aging consumers incorrectly lumped into the ‘old age bucket’. A bucket that labels anyone 65 or older as being on their way to a planned community, assisted living, or worse. And they’re not considered big shoppers. Really?

Every year in the U.S., seniors make informed purchase decisions spending up to $15 trillion dollars.

Since the age wave of 65+ is heading toward 100 million in the next 25 years, here’s more proof why targeting California seniors is a CMO’s best bet:

  • Between 1990 and 2020, an estimated 112% increase in California seniors will occur.
  • California’s senior growth rate is two times faster than any other state the U.S.
  • The growth rate in eleven California counties will exceed 150%

As you ponder where to begin your senior marketing strategy, consider this McKinsey study on the 5 dominant forces over the next 12 years that will effect the consumer landscape.

  1. Changing face of the consumer – it’s all about the aging population explosion
  2. Evolving geopolitical dynamics – economic power shift moves to the 65+
  3. New patterns of personal consumption – focus on health and wellness
  4. Technological advancements- by 2030, 3 out of 4 consumers will own a connected mobile device
  5. Structural Industry shifts – direct to consumer purchasing shifting toward seniors

The California Silver Rush is real. The economic contribution seniors play in the state’s economy should lead any CMO currently targeting the 18-49 to develop a senior strategy – just as was done decades ago for Hispanic, African-American and multicultural consumer segments.

As a CMO, few initiatives are more critical to the success of your brand and your job longevity than more customer acquisition.

Consider these characteristics of the California senior-dedicated strategy and budget:

  • They control the majority of the wealth/savings/assets in the state
  • They have more experience as consumers
  • They have been shoppers for ½ a century – they’re savvy and do their homework
  • Unlike millennials, they see advertising as a service in deciding where and what to buy
  • There’s a good chance they were customers of yours in the past. Are they still?

CMOs must reallocate their resources and move past the traditional barriers to growth and consumer age. They would be wise to go beyond the expected 18-49 target cutoff. In California, seniors are lining up to finally spend their nest egg.

Photo by Wavebreak Media

Author Profile

Brad Ball
Brian Morris and I have been good friends and industry competitors for years. We both have run major advertising agencies and both have held top level client-side positions. I am a former partner at ad agency Davis, Ball and Colombatto, and the former Chief Marketing Officer at McDonalds and President, Theatrical Marketing for Warner Brothers. Brian and I are now in our 60’s and came together in 2017 to form a company that understands the Senior market better than traditional ad agencies, Silver Advertising. We are now poised to be passionate advocates for these consumers as they enter their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond.

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