'Generation Buy' Fickle Yet Free Spending: TV Land Study

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Baby Boomers in their 40s and 50s not only are at the peak of their earning potential but also are making the majority of buying decisions for themselves, small children and their elderly parents, according to a recent branding survey conducted by TV Land and consumer researcher OTX.

The findings were detailed during a press conference Monday at the National Press Club by TV Land president Larry W. Jones. He was joined by Kim Alexis (pictured), host of TV Land's original reality series She's Got The Look and Beverly Johnson, a judge on the same series.

Not only are 40- and 50 year-olds spending more on themselves per month than Millennials and Gen Xers but, more interestingly, they are spending twice as much as their younger cohorts on others in their lives. With so many people to shop for, Boomers are “making several multi-generational purchase decisions at once and—contrary to common assumptions—they are far less brand loyal than Millennials and Gen Xers,” according to the survey.

TV Land's "Generation BUY: A Close Look at the Boomer Consumer" study, fielded by OTX, includes input from almost 4,000 adults ages 18-65 nationwide. Commissioned by TV Land, the study provides information on the purchase decisions and brand loyalty of Adults 40-59.

“While we have always known that it's a mistake to underestimate the power of people in their 40s and 50s, ‘Generation BUY’ once again shows us that Boomers are a major source of consumerism in this country,” Jones said. “Knowing that this generation has so many dependants, the means to buy the products that appeal to them and the willingness to try new brands is powerful information to share with our marketing and advertising partners.”

She’s Got The Look, which was renewed for a second season last week,pits aspiring fashion models 35 years and older against one in another in a series of competitions to determine which contestant deserves a “second chance at supermodel stardom” and a lucrative modeling contract. The first season concludes Wednesday, July 9 at 10 p.m. ET.

The study found three traits that make up the 40-59 consumer: "Promiscuous Purchasers," "Free Agent Shoppers" and "Savvy Switchers." More often than not the breadwinners in the household, Boomers make most or all of the family spending decisions. With the large amount of purchase decisions they are making for others spanning multiple generations, they are "Promiscuous Purchasers." The "Generation BUY" study found that people 40-59 spend more than three times the amount of money per month on spouses ($514) than adults under 40 ($169).

Additionally, they spend nearly twice as much per month on kids ($295 vs. $158) and three times the amount per month on teen children ($494 vs. $136). With so many purchase decisions to make for the household, these so-called "Promiscuous Purchasers" are an important marketing sector even when they are not the prime target.

TV Land's "Generation BUY" study also found that 40 and 50-somethings are more open to new brands and less brand loyal than people under 40 making 40-59s "Free Agent Shoppers." Twenty-six percent of Boomers said they are not at all brand loyal versus 21% of Gen X and Millennials. In fact, Gen Y are the most likely to say that once they have made a commitment to a brand, they will stick with it, no matter what. The willingness of 40 and 50 year-olds to buy new brands carries over across virtually every product category including electronics, personal care products, restaurants, automobiles and more.

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