California Seniors are Driving Well into their 80’s and Car Dealers are Noticing!

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What CMOs can learn from more years of consumption on the road ahead.

Few things are more devastating when you age than giving up your driving privileges. For the family, it means more shuttle duties. But to the senior, it can shorten their life. From your 16th birthday, or whatever the age you attained your driver’s license, your California driver’s license was literally your declaration of independence.

CMOs will be happy to discover that older drivers are not hitting the brakes anytime soon. And with the economic power and sheer population size of California, seniors can expect to drive well past their 80’s.

In the US., drivers 70+ represent 11% of the total population. That’s huge because mobility means money. And seniors hold 50% of the country’s wealth. The ability to continue driving means continuing to lead virtually the same life, consuming as they did in their 40’s and 50’s. California exceeds every data point that involves the automobile. This includes drive-thru restaurants, banks, grocery stores, gas stations, malls, etc. And the car or truck relies on money to stay on the road – from tires to insurance.

With the coming age wave, the opportunity with senior driver independence is only growing.

It’s not surprising the auto dealer business in California outperforms all states.

  • According to NADA data – California’s 1333 dealers have annual revenue of $120 billion
  • California drivers hold 12% of all registered cars in the country.

These data points speak directly to the auto ecosystem and the impact California seniors are having on the economy. And it’s going to get even better as the growth in senior drivers continues.

California, like most states, encourages longevity in one’s driving privileges. Licenses are renewed every five years, and until age 70 drivers may automatically be granted two five-year renewals by mail or online. Starting at 70, drivers must renew in person, taking a written test and eye exam.

And the data supports the accident rate among seniors/boomers to be dropping. And California Senior drivers are safer than all others on the road. Here are the key reasons:

  • They obey the speed limits and are less distracted
  • They tend not to drink or text while driving
  • Seniors drive fewer miles – 45% fewer annually than a 40-year-old
  • Seniors drive primarily during daylight hours

Auto insurance costs for seniors reflect their safer statistics on the road.

The average insurance quote for a 21-year-old is $2,124, while the average for someone aged 60 to 64 is $1,159. And the rate only goes up to $1,381 for someone 80 to 84.

Since 1997, Baby Boomers have swelled the 70+ population, but car accident fatalities per capita among older people has decreased 47%. And since 1975 it is now at its lowest level.

The Silver Rush in California is being driven in part by aging drivers. Having the freedom to go and shop wherever they choose should accelerate marketer’s decisions to join this “Silver Rush” now. It should be quite a ride.

Photo By Clark 1948 Cadillac via photopin (license)

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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