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Is Your Facility Prepared to Serve the Baby Boomers?

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Boomers

Fitness facilities are beginning to recognize the revenue potential of Baby Boomers (born 1946 through 1964). As the wealthiest generation in history, the US has over 75 million Boomers, representing about 30% of the population.

Those over 60 will represent about 5% more of the total US population each decade,1 underscoring the need to address Boomers and their unique fitness needs. 67% of Boomers rank exercise as a top priority and they control 70% of the disposable income in the US,2 making them ideal member targets for health clubs.

According to surveys, Boomers consider health to be among their top three priorities.3 Despite their readiness to embrace regular exercise and explore new offerings, only a small percentage of marketing assets address Boomers in the fitness industry. This is a major opportunity for improvement, because in the next 20 years, Baby Boomer spending is estimated to increase by 58% (to $4.74 trillion) while younger generations’ spending will grow by only 24%.4

Baby Boomers are high users of health care services and interact with a wide variety of health care professionals, all of whom are encouraging exercise options that maintain and extend physical capabilities. To address the specific needs of older individuals, the safety and accessibility of your equipment is paramount. Your staff should be aware of your specific age-friendly options and be able to highlight equipment with step-through designs for easy entry and exit.

To ensure your facility is inviting, facility signage must be easy to read, and walkways should accommodate those with diverse physical abilities, because almost 70% of Boomers suffer from one or more chronic diseases.5

Social engagement is reported to bolster exercise engagement and enjoyment, yet many facilities have not prioritized group exercise catering to older individuals. Importantly, these should consider the orthopedic status of participants by featuring lower-impact movements. Group exercise classes that blend the use of cardio equipment and functional movements are the most sought-after by Boomers, and smaller class sizes encourage more social interaction and instructor oversight.

Advertise your inclusive programming with marketing materials that feature older adults to help members better understand your offerings. Taken all together, these strategies support a welcoming environment that will engage your members and keep them coming back for more.

References:

  1. The Nielson & BoomAgers Report: Introducing Boomers – Marketing’s Most Valuable Generation.
  2. 2010 Del Webb Baby Boomer Survey.
  3. The Healthcare Marketer: Baby Boomers & Healthcare Marketing 2013.
  4. Holzman J. (2013) Venture Capital Review Issue 29. What’s Your 50+ Strategy? A New Investment Theme. 
  5. Buttorff et al. Multiple Chronic Conditions in the United States (2017) Rand Corporation.

Karlie Intlekofer, PhD, is the global wellness researcher at Johnson Health Tech, parent company of Matrix Fitness. She can be reached on LinkedIn and at Karlie.Intlekofer@johnsonfit.com.

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