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  • Writer's pictureRichard Irvine


Updated: Aug 23, 2023

By Richard Irvine

After the outbreak of World War 1, the government of the day introduced legislation to limit the number of hours that pubs in England could stay open.

By lessoning the time that the factory workers spent in the pub, they could lessen the amount of alcohol taken on board, which in turn would lessen absenteeism in the factories. Or so the theory went.

These restricted opening and closing times stayed in place long after the war ended. Much longer, as it turned out.

It was 87 years later, well after the start of the new millennia, that the laws were finally relaxed and you could buy a drink in a pub at anytime of the day or night.

So, if like me, you came of age in the 1970’s, chances are you will still remember the ringing of the bell and the shouted phrase that signalled a 10 minute countdown before the bar stopped serving. Usually at 10.30 PM.

A crazy 10 minute period that represented the busiest time of the night as panicked customers crowded the bar to secure as many drinks as they could carry. Determined to squeeze as much enjoyment as they could out of the time that was left.

A metaphor for the Boomers as they enter the last quarter of their lives, perhaps?

They maybe the longest-living generation in history, they maybe at the forefront of the longevity economy and the wealthiest generation per capita, ever, but they know all too well that the clock is ticking.

But there will be no going gentle into that good night for this generation.

In the USA alone, Boomers spent $8.7 trillion in 2020 on goods and services. This is expected to increase to $15 trillion by 2030 *. Put simply, they are not shy about spending their money.

Cars, holidays, property, fashion, F&B, wellbeing, entertainment, sports, further education, electronics…are just some of the categories that the Boomers continue to enthusiastically embrace.

But what of sustainability?

Perhaps surprisingly for the generation that invented the term consumerism there is growing awareness and a slow but definite shift towards conscious consumption.

Even the iconic, US, gas guzzling Jeep, saw a marked upswing in sales attributed to the over 50’s purchasing the newly launched plug-in hybrid version of the Jeep.

Of course these greener technologies are often more expensive, so perhaps their early adoption by the Boomers is simply a money argument.

And as we know, and for the time being at least, the Boomers are flush.

Which leads me to ask, if you are a brand owner, CMO, or a service provider, should you not be focussing at least some of your marketing budget on this cohort?

As for all the Boomers out there, and in the words of the 80’s UK ska band, The Specials,

“Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think”.

*The Brookings Institution. "The Silver Economy is Coming of Age: A Look at the Growing Spending Power of Seniors.

Richard Irvine is Head of Creative and Innovation at A3A Agency for the Third Age

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