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The Grandparent Economy is Serious Business

grandparent, grandchild

By Ellen Blake

Grandparents are an eager to spend demographic.

Think about it –  Most grandparents light up when you ask about their grandchildren. My friends share stories and pictures readily and often, and are willing to spend abundantly on the grandbabies even when they cannot easily afford to do so. No matter what the product or service, which could be clothes, toys, extracurricular activities or travel, the grandparent demographic tends to consist of eager consumers.

Grandparents represent a larger chunk of the population now than ever before. According to the Census Bureau, the number of grandparents in the United States rose to 69.5 million in 2014, up from 65.1 million in 2009 and 56.1 million in 2001. The youngest baby boomers turned 50 in 2014, and the country’s 75.4 million boomers make up an exceptionally large pool of potential grandparents. This generation of grandparents is one of the fast-growing and most powerful segments of the U.S. population.

Today’s grandparents are younger, better educated and wealthier than any previous grandparents. As a group, they control more than half the financial assets in the United States and spend around $3.2 billion annually. Even during recessions, grandparents seem to find money for their grandkids.

Grandparenting is evolving. My grandparents saved up to hand over a big chunk of money for my first car. They were around alot to help raise my siblings and me. I have wonderful memories of the time we spent together.

Today’s grandparents have different types of relationships with the grandkids. My friends who have grandchildren are more likely to spend on extras such as music lessons or a weekend trip throughout the years than to write a large check. This is particularly true when you choose to delay retirement and continue to work into your golden years. There is less time to spend with the grandkids. However, with skype, facetime, email and cell phones, large numbers of boomers still foster extremely close relationships with their grandchildren.

The bottom line? Your impact on the country’s economy and well-being is considerable and you can expect more companies to cater to your age group moving forward. Marketing professionals understand your economic clout and commitment to family. Companies that ignore this demographic are missing out on alot of business.



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