For decades advertisers have focused on 25-54 and 18-49 year-olds and largely ignored consumers that fall outside these broad demographic groups. A new report from Katz Radio Group shines a bright light on a consumer group that's too often waiting in the shadows to be engaged. The 55+ demo, which consumes more of the medium than any other, is bursting at the seams with spending power and growing in size.
According to the Federal Reserve, the A55+ consumer has the largest net worth among households. And they account for the largest share of consumer spending, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And while the rate of all U.S. workers is expected to decrease by 3% by 2029, adults 55+ are projected to outpace the labor market by 18%.
“Adults over 55 are the fastest growing segment of our population, are more active within our labor-force than any other age-group, and has more spending power than ever,” says Lisa Cirigliano, Director of Radio Station Solutions at Katz Radio Group. “Engaging with the adult 55+ consumer is critical for brands and marketers alike, who want to drive sales, grow market share and build brand awareness.”
Not too long ago, the 55+ consumer consisted only of Baby Boomers and the Silent generation, but now it includes the oldest members of the Gen X population. As the proverbial pig moves through the python, the 55+ age cells are the only segments of the population to see growth in share from the 2010 Census to the 2021 Estimates and to the 2026 Projection. The adult 65+ population is projected to surpass children under 18 by 2035 reaching 78.0 million, with exponential growth through 2060 reaching 94.7 million.
Raised on radio, the adult 55+ consumer engages more with traditional local broadcast than any other media. AM/FM radio reaches over 81 million adult 55+ consumers in an average week, or 83% of the 55+ population on stations that range from classic rock, classic hits and adult R&B to news/talk and sports.
But this large, attractive population segment doesn’t just tune into radio – they are actively engaged with the medium. AM/FM radio dominates audio listening for Adults 55+.According to Share of Ear Q4 2020 from Edison Research, this demo spends 85% of their audio time with AM/FM compared to 15% with streaming audio. And they log 2 hours, 54 minutes a day with radio, compared to 2 hours, 37 minutes for the Adults 18+ average, per Nielsen RADAR 148, from March 2021.
“Marketing To The Influential 55+ Consumer” from Katz Radio strengthens the case for radio to reach this large portion of the U.S. population. Consumers 55+ are 15% more likely than the average U.S. consumer to believe radio is the most trusted medium. In addition they are 21% more likely to find radio informative and 12% more prone to cite radio as a good source of learning.
The narrative gets even better when profiling heavy radio listeners aged 55+. Across a range of data points this group is shown to be prime consumer targets. They are 61% more likely to have a household net worth of $1 million, 31% more likely to own a home with a value of $750,000 or more, 37% more likely to own stock, and 27% more apt to be the decision maker for purchasing or leasing a new vehicle.