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Published on March 15, 2006

Follow the money—Boomers have it

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Opinion

AKRON (March 13, 2006) — Much has been written about the importance of catering to female customers, a group that consumer studies have shown accounts for more than half of the purchases made from tire dealerships.


Others in the industry encourage dealers not to overlook Gen Yers and Gen Xers, not to mention those interested in the tuner market, who often have significant disposable income and are eager to spend it to personalize their vehicles.


Just look at all of the money and effort tire companies are pouring into marketing efforts designed to reach and capture the younger, next generation tire buyers.


But where's the real cash—and another real opportunity?


It's with the Baby Boomer generation, according to a study by AutoPacific Inc., a Tustin, Calif., automotive marketing and consulting company.


That group of consumers should not be overlooked as dealers try to fine-tune their marketing efforts to appeal to all of these other groups.


Think about Baby Boomer demographics.


Boomers, now aged 41-60, are the most affluent Americans, ac-cording to the AutoPacific study, with $2 trillion in disposable income annually.


This group, comprising 78 million men and women, account for half of all U.S. spending.


And as they age, they are expected to become even more affluent, inheriting a great amount of wealth from their parents, the firm said.


In terms of vehicles, this group is a coveted tire and auto service customer.


Half of all Boomer households own three or more vehicles and many Boomer couples will add a third set of wheels to their family fleet, the study showed. That vehicle likely will be “aspirational,” meaning it will display their personal style.


At the same time, nearly half of all Boomers keep their vehicles more than four years, making them viable customers for replacement tires and service on those vehicles.


Certainly tire dealers have been serving Baby Boom customers ever since they first learned to drive.


But the tendency is to focus on the up-and-coming generations and new marketing trends and to take for granted the loyal customers who've patronized a dealership for years.


While new and emerging customer groups shouldn't be overlooked, figuring out how to cater to—and get more from—Boomer customers may provide the greatest opportunity for a bump in sales.


After all, it's this group that controls the money.

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