Retail Opportunities in a World of Extremes: Understanding Today's Teens and Boomers

Retail Opportunities in a World of Extremes: Understanding Today's Teens and Boomers

In today's marketplace, consumer shopping preferences and needs continue to fragment as a result of changes in demographics and value systems. These changes are making customers harder to define, categorize and reach. As population distribution shifts to the tail ends of consumer age groups, retailers face new challenges in satisfying these very diverse groups. Those retailers who gain a deeper understanding of select segments can more successfully address this fragmentation and the opportunities that exist.

To provide insights into this complex marketplace, we studied the in-store and Internet-based shopping preferences of two very diverse segments – teenagers and baby boomers. We chose boomers because of their sheer size (78 million between the ages of 41 and 60)1 and economic clout (50 percent of all U.S. spending),2 and teens because of their window to the future of retailing and their expected spending power (US$176 billion in 2006).3

Our research revealed teens as wired, social beings that rely on connections with and approval from friends and peers. These young shoppers live comfortably with technology and are highly informed consumers. On the other hand, boomers are deliberate shoppers who rely on brand trust and have very diverse value drivers. These experienced shoppers seek convenience and a good value and are working their way up the technology curve.


Gina Paglucia Morrison Senior Consultant, IBM Gina Paglucia Morrison is a Senior Consultant in IBM Global Business Services. She has over 15 years of experience in business strategy and analysis in retail and other consumerrelated industries, and is currently the retail team leader in the IBM Institute for Business Value.
14 May 2008
01 Jan 2007
12 Page(s)
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