We have all seen the shifts in demographic distribution that show an aging population.  All those trend setting Baby Boomers are now becoming senior citizens.

As they have aged they have dragged social norms along with them.  Now they are getting old and grumpy.

Can we afford to deal with these Grumpy Old Customers?  They are demanding and used to getting their own way.  As they retire, they will have more time on their hands to shop and discern their best options.

These are people who still want to go to Rolling Stones concerts, for heaven’s sake.  The Stones are so old they can hardly walk, much less rock.  What’s with these people?

They have always gotten the market to shift to their tastes – the music, the fashion.  They are now wearing jeans to the office and legalizing marijuana.  They even tricked their kids into liking old time rock and roll.

And now they are becoming grumpy old customers.

Welcome to the age of Caveat Vendor (for those who didn’t have Latin in high school, that means “let the seller beware”).

These Grumpy old customers have time on their hands and competitive pricing in their pockets.  They are customers who know more about what they want to buy than the sellers know about their products.  These Grumpy Old Customers are young enough to use the internet to their advantage, and with time on their hands and accumulated buying power they are going to make sellers lives difficult.   Sellers will have to be knowledgeable and flexible.  These geezers smell a discount from a mile away and are used to asking for a “Senior’s Discount.”

They also want customization to meet their needs and they are used to getting the market to adapt to them, and their tastes.

These grumpy old customers are not all the same.  We used to categorize senior to be 55 plus.  We now look at them to be 55 – 65, and 65 – 75 before considering them seniors.

The 65 to 755 group are still active and they have a lot of their kid’s inheritance money to spend.  And those that have the money are spending it on travel, electronics, and whatever the heck they want to spend it on.  It looks like one big fun time until their money runs out.  It is not the old picture of the 65 year old looking for a retirement home to settle into.  Unless that home is on a hiking trail in Tibet.

For marketers that means looking more closely at the age breaks over 55 – it is not an abyss, there are a lot of grumpy old customers to consider as your expanded target.

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