Boomers have come full circle. Well, almost. The Boomer Values Realignment Study from 2011, showed that the Boomer reaction to the economic downturn and other national and global crises has been to focus more on relationships. The study authors refer to this as “a big shift from consumerism to relationships” as boomers turn inward and focus more on what really matters.
But this isn’t an “I don’t care too much for money” attitude by any means. The study also showed that Boomers care enough about money to bargain hunt and develop more thrifty spending habits. What’s more, the renewed focus on meaning has affected where they spend their money—Boomers are more likely to purchase from companies that are in line with their own values as well as companies that will enhance their relationships with family and friends. For example,
- 90% want their home to be an enticing gathering place for family and friends.
- 86% desire a vacation connecting them with family and friends.
- 85% are interested in a home with a smaller carbon footprint and lower operating costs.
- 83% believe companies need to focus more on long-term growth than on short-term profits.
Source: Boomer Values Realignment Study
So what does this mean for businesses, especially entrepreneurs? Boomers, on the whole, have $2.1 trillion in annual buying power, according to MetLife Mature Market Institute. Many Boomers have no intention of retiring anytime soon, or they are planning retirement on their own terms, with a flexible schedule and the ability to pursue what matters most to them, including building businesses based on their values. Odds are, you are one of them.
The shift toward a focus on relationships couldn’t be more perfectly timed, as technology has changed the marketplace to be dependent on multiple networks connecting people around the world in almost infinite ways. Not only that, the market is savvy. People want more than just a connection, even with people they will never meet in person. They expect that connection to be genuine.
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, it can seem like the worst possible time to focus your business on your values, on the quality of your relationships with your clients rather than on the quantity, but the opposite is true. Boomers are an indication of how your clients are changing. Living your values and focusing on what matters in your business is not only what you need, it’s what the world needs—and it’s what the world is willing to pay for.
How does your existing business or business idea root itself in your values? What are you doing to build and deepen genuine relationships professionally and personally?