Who are the Baby Boomers?
The Baby Boomer generation – people born between 1946 and 1964 – are between 54 and 72 years of age today. With the US Census Bureau reporting over 77 million baby boomers in existence today, they’re a large segment of the entire population. Additionally, the Census Bureau estimates 83.7 million people will be aged 65 and over by the year 2050. Because the average Baby Boomer’s income hovers between $60K and $70K, they make up a huge portion of any marketing target.
Baby Boomers are large consumers of medicinal and legal recreational cannabis. According to a study by IBISWorld, the legal marijuana industry is growing rapidly primarily because the Baby Boomers who use marijuana is growing faster than any other demographic of consumers. However, this generation is more than your target consumer; they are also your target investors as they make choices on what to invest in to ensure their retirement income. You can look at this generation as a key stakeholder in any cannabis business.
Return to The Plant – From The 60’s & 70’s to Today
Baby Boomers were preteens, teens, and young adults in the 60’s and 70’s. They were students in Jr. High, High School, and College at a time and age when many people experimented with rules and rebellion. A recent Gallup poll indicates that in 1977, 24% of poll participants admitted to smoking marijuana. Many Baby Boomers were rolling joints and getting high listening to artists like The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, and Led Zeppelin.
Eventually, though, these men and women grew up, matured, got married, forged careers, and started families of their own. With this newfound maturity, Baby Boomers took a break from smoking weed and getting high as life prodded them along the course of their version of the American Dream. Job security and providing for their families took precedence over recreational pot usage. In fact, these new responsibilities led many of them to view cannabis usage as a mark of immaturity.
Today, Baby Boomers are looking for ways to preserve their health and become more active as they age. With the desire to age gracefully, and with no desire to allow age, and age-related ailments, to slow them down, they’re making health and wellness one of their major priorities. Getting back to their holistic roots, though, Baby Boomers are eschewing traditional healthcare in favor of reputable, alternative, back-to-nature healthcare measures. They are placing less emphasis on pharmaceutical prescriptions, and are actively seeking, instead, natural, holistic and alternative therapies for symptoms, such as chronic pain, arthritis, skin care, etc.
According to Ohio State University, as much as 70% of the 50 and older age demographic is using some form of alternative medicine. With almost limitless options, marijuana ranks high on that list. Previously thought of only as an herb inhaled through smoking, cannabis is indeed considered alternative medicine and is available in many forms and for many uses. Those forms and uses include:
Baby Boomers Are Now Wealthy, Retired, and Have Income to Invest
Consumer advocacy group, AARP, reports that 10,000 Baby Boomers are turning 65 every day. This trend is likely to continue into the 2030’s. Despite the perception of millennial’s monopoly on the “startup” culture, Baby Boomers are twice as likely as Millennials to start a new business. Also, 45% of Baby Boomers consider themselves entrepreneurs.
AARP’s survey further contends that Baby Boomers control two-thirds of the disposable income in the United States. They’re also set to inherit $15 trillion dollars in the next 20 years. Surprisingly, AARP found this group is targeted by only 5-10% of marketing efforts. If you’re in the cannabis industry in any way, shape, or form, these are the consumers and/or investors your marketing dollars should be directed toward. Period! They have the years of business experience, entrepreneurial spirit, and disposable income to allow them to invest in this fast-growing industry. They’re also savvy enough to choose smart investments for the money they’ll come to count on in their retirement years.
Baby Boomers Should Be the Cannabis Industry’s Target Audience
Cannabis has changed from the 60’s and 70’s to today. In fact, it’s changed in more ways than one. Where it was once considered a recreational drug, it is now viewed as a medicinal substance. Where it once carried the “Cheech and Chong” stoner stigma, it now enjoys holistic respectability. Where it was once hidden from public view, it is rapidly becoming more widely accepted.
Baby Boomers, themselves, who were once considered “stoners”, are turning to cannabis for its therapeutic properties. Because they’re utilizing its healing power to treat their aging conditions, they make excellent spokespersons, advocates, and investors. Additionally, much like early speculators in the mobile phone industry, they’re a potentially untapped resource for investing in the cannabis industry. Cannabis is gaining societal acceptance across a variety of demographics, which means that, although Baby Boomers are prime investors, your market reach extends far beyond them. Because Baby Boomers are shrewd investors, they’re able to see the features, benefits, and potential return on investment that comes from investing in this field.
Baby Boomers have witnessed the evolution of marijuana as it has grown from weed to legal cannabis to its own cottage industry. Once vilified and cause for arrest and incarceration, medical cannabis is now a popular holistic remedy. Because several states have legalized the use of marijuana outside of medical necessity, it’s increasing in popularity in those states at an even faster rate. In 2016, marijuana sales totaled more than $6.7 million dollars. Cannabis sales in North America have a projected growth of becoming a $20.2 billion industry by 2021. For an industry still in its infancy, this is remarkable growth. Baby Boomers are perfectly poised to take ownership of a share of this steadily increasing market. They are future-casting and viewing cannabis as a new way of life and a new way of creating wealth.