Small Business Ideas for the Baby Boomer Market

10 Baby Boomer Trends & How to Profit From Them

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Image (c) Tom Merton/ Getty Images

The baby boomer market is an extremely desirable market because of its sheer size. While niche marketing is almost a rule for small business success, it makes sense, too, to try and target a niche as large and moneyed as possible - and the huge baby boomer market is full of niche opportunities that can be extremely profitable.

Contrary to popular belief, there are a great many baby boomers that are not retired.

Even better, many baby boomers are at the peak of their earning years and have comparatively large discretionary incomes to spend.

Read on to learn about trends in baby boomer behavior, and, more importantly, how you can profit from them with these small business ideas for products and/or services that appeal to the boomer market.

These are the boomer attitudes that you can capitalize on by creating your own small business:

1) I have to see it or do it before it's gone.

One of the big boomer trends is the compulsion to see it/do it before it can't be seen or done anymore. The Great Wall, the Great Barrier Reef, Venice - boomers feel a need to visit places, species and lifestyles that are vanishing and experience them for themselves.

Environmental concerns, such as global warming, seem to have exacerbated these feelings. Seeing polar or spirit bears in their natural environment or visiting Antarctica, for example, are high on the “must-see” list.

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2) Our kids are smaller and furrier than they used to be.

I think you have to have been living abroad to have missed this trend. Dogs and cats aren't just pets any more; they're treasured members of the family.

Remember the old days when dogs slept in dog houses? Not in boomer households. Baby boomer pets eat, sleep and do things with their people. They watch TV; they get dressed up; they have their own friends and their own doctors. They are a multimillion dollar industry!

Related Small Business Ideas: See 18 Pet Business Ideas

3) We need help with our aged parents.

Remember that the baby boomer generation is so large that it encompasses a whole range of life events. One of the larger subsets of the boomer demographic is those who are currently dealing with aged parents or soon to be about to.

Many boomers feel incapable of dealing with their parents' problems themselves. They want to know what the options are or are looking to hire people to help with specific problems such as home care or moving an elderly parent from his or her home to new quarters.

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4) Look how fit I am!

Boomers care about their health, probably because they see health and fitness as a way of staving off age.

They're age-obsessed. Although they're all over 50 now, almost none will admit to being middle-aged or, God forbid, a senior. Those are titles for old people!

One of the ways boomers let the population at large know they're not old is by dressing in fitness gear as much as possible. The man stepping off the elevator in his spandex bike gear? A baby boomer. The woman on the street wearing the yoga outfit? Yep. You guessed it.

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  • "Flavour of the Year" fitness instruction – yoga, Pilates, tai-chi, kick boxing
  • Personal training
  • Fitness clothing retailer (on or off-line)

5) I've got that loving feeling...

For the world. For whales. For victims of the latest hurricane. Baby boomers love to feel good and contributing to a cause is one quick way to do that. Especially if it's a popular cause. In some circles, there almost seems to be a cause-upmanship operating; the more causes one visibly supports, the better. The best thing to do, though, is to espouse your own cause and host/sponsor your own events.

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6) Wait! I haven't told you about or shown you...

Boomers don't just do things; they have experiences. And for better or worse, they want to share those experiences with everyone else. Boomers are certain that their personal stories are worth telling - and videoing, and taping, and blogging about, and even hiring other people to write about.  Boomers were the original audience and content of talk shows and now the internet has given them even more scope for their "get it all out there and share it with the world" tendencies.

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7) Inconspicuous consumption.

The container of Haagen Dazs ice cream in the freezer with the spoon stuck in it is perhaps the perfect baby boomer symbol. Of course it's expensive. Of course it's superior. Of course I have to have it! Baby boomers want the best and the best of the best is even better. To indulge in luxuries conspicuously, however, is frowned upon. Perhaps in self-defense, boomers have turned cocooning into an art form. Behind the door are a whole lot of high-end fabrics, furnishings and products.

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8) I'm a strange animal, just like you are.

A lot of baby boomers spend a lot of time expressing Greta Garbo-like sentiments. They need space, they have to be alone, they need to find themselves etc. etc. However, curiously, boomers will flock to a lot of the same places and do a lot of the same things together to do that. It's no coincidence that all-inclusive resorts and trips have become so popular.

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9) Let the professional do it; he knows best.

Previous generations put a much higher premium on self-reliance than boomers do. Baby boomers have a strong tendency to let experts take care of them, whether it's a personal trainer or a broker. If you're a boomer yourself, try to imagine your Dad consulting a financial planner or hiring a decorator. You'll get the picture.

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10) Of course I'm not too old for that!

This is another baby boomer trend that you have to have been living abroad for the last decade to have missed. No matter how grueling an experience may be, to even suggest that someone of a certain age may be too old to participate is to risk having your head verbally snapped off. Where I live, 80 year-olds drag themselves onto the tennis courts and 60-somethings enthusiastically kayak and hike mountainsides. Baby boomers refuse to be or act old until it's absolutely unavoidable.

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  • Sports equipment - including extreme sports
  • Fitness/sport lessons from yoga through wind-surfing
  • Wilderness/eco-tour experience provider

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