Baby Boomers Essay
Baby boomers can be characterized as the people who were born between 1946 and 1964. The entrance of baby boomers in the UK and other western countries was after the Second World War. Baby boomers have covered a remarkable portion of the total population of the UK. Due to this reason, most of the business organizations in the UK make their business plans and marketing campaigns by taking the needs of the baby boomers into consideration. Baby boomers are considered to be the wealthiest section of the UK’s society.
The generation of baby boomers is considered to be the richest, charmed, most secure, and most powerful generation and present various business opportunities to the business enterprises of the UK. The life insurance market of the UK is quite vast and maximum organizations dealing with life insurance are in Europe (Heller, Hemming, Kohnert and Feldman 1986). As per the records of 2005, the premium income of the life insurance market of the UK is about US$200 billion. The studies conducted on knowing the investment habits of baby boomers reflect that the investment significant amount of life insurance has a strong tendency of spending into life insurance because they are not sure about the upcoming life events.
The generation of baby boomers looks forward to a long, healthy, and secure life even after their retirement. Thus, for the purpose of securing their lives, baby boomers heavily invest in life insurance schemes. At the same time, baby boomers also believe that the policies and schemes related to the life insurance are quite effective for baby boomers in maintaining a high standard of living even after their retirement (Blondeaue 2001). Life insurance and pension funds are often considered as the preferred savings vehicles for the people of the UK, as it contributes to the remarkable growth of the UK market (Brooks 2000).
The main focus of the present report is to analyze the attitude and behavior of consumers towards life insurance products and services in the UK market. Thus, for the purpose of analyzing consumer behavior and attitude towards insurance products, certain crucial aspects like consumer perceptions, attitudes and motivations, subcultural effects, decision-making process, identity and self-concept issues, and lifestyle trends will be highlighted in the report.
Analysis of the British Market
The European market is witnessing a continuous increase in the ratio of baby boomers in the past some years. It has been observed that there is a significant increase in the rate of life expectancy in the United Kingdom in the past some years. There has been an increasing rate of life expectancy and it has increased the business market of different industries in regards to baby boomers, as customers in the current UK market. Census report for 2001 in the UK indicates that in comparison to people of age group 16 years, there is an increase in people of age above 65 years.
The market of baby boomers is increasing at a great rate (Irving 2011). The share of baby boomers in the business market of various industries and an increase in the life expectancy of elderly people is a significant factor in the life insurance industry. Under the analysis of the British market, the essay focuses on the analysis of an increasing rate of baby boomers in the British market.
In the context of the life insurance industry in the UK, the market of UK is the strongest and most competitive in Europe. A large segment of the population is aged and most of them are on the stage of getting retired, there is an increased possibility that they will depend more on wealth management and other products of retirement for regular income rather than just satisfying with previous salaries. Traditionally, life insurance has remained a preferred saving vehicle for the British (Schmid n.d.).
As discussed, baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and are beginning to approach middle age. It is expected that baby boomers will have higher pre-retirement earnings compared to older people of today. Higher earnings facilitate savings for boomers so that they can get higher pension benefits as a result of higher earnings.
Consumer behavior and patterns in regards to baby boomers:
The perception, attitudes, and motivations are characterized as the psychological factors which have an impact on the purchasing decision or buying behavior of consumers. Perception can be referred to as a process or phenomenon wherein the people select, receives, and interprets external stimuli with the help of five senses (Kardes, Cronley and Cline 2010). For instance, while buying any life insurance scheme, the people usually have a perception that the insurance scheme will help them in dealing with the uncertainties of life. The perception of every customer towards their purchase differs from each other. The perception teaches people how to act. Like perception, attitudes, emotions, and motivations also hold an important place in understanding the purchasing behavior of customers.
The customers effectively manage their attitudes and emotions, while purchasing any products or services. The decisions of customers towards what to purchase and what not to purchase are influenced by factors like perceptions, attitudes, emotions, beliefs, and motivations. The attitude of baby boomer consumers in the context of life insurance products can be understood as the feelings, emotions, beliefs, and behavioral intentions of baby boomer customers towards life insurance products.
The generation of baby boomers does not feel older and actively participates in all the activities which are performed by other generations, as they believe in taking their own action. The baby boomers are retiring, that is why they are taking a high interest in investing in life insurance schemes for securing their future. The generation of baby boomers has a strong belief that innovative life insurance products and schemes offered by business organizations that will provide them adequate coverage and protection when they are elderly for their money (Kostel and Kostel 2010). Thus, they present good business opportunities for promoting their products and increasing their profits to the organizations dealing with life insurance programs.
The major spending of baby boomers into life insurance products and services in the UK reflects their positive attitude towards life insurance. In the present business scenario of the UK, the baby boomers over the age of 50 years spend more on life insurance to protect themselves from the uncertainties of life. The majority of baby boomers in the later stage of their life spend more on life insurance, as they believe that life insurance can be a valuable source of income for them, and the amount which they have invested into the life insurance plans will definitely come in handy to pay expenses. The size of the family also often motivates baby boomers to spend on life insurance plans (Moschis and Mathur, 2007). The increasing life expectancy highly motivates baby boomers to purchase life insurance. The people in the younger generation, particularly, the younger baby boomers think more about investing into life insurance plans, as they think that it will provide them financial security at the time of dealing with challenges of life such as the accumulation of sufficient savings for retirement (Supan and Brugiavini 2002).
The effective analysis of the decision-making process of consumers in making any purchase decisions for marketers in making their marketing successful. The decision making the process of customers comprises five stages; problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives available, purchase decision and post-purchase decision (Hoyer, Macinnis and Dasgupta 2008). The decision made by baby boomers in the UK is quite interesting. The generation of baby boomers in the UK has emerged as influential, smart, and savvy customers. The baby boomer generation of the UK follows various considerations while making their decisions regarding the purchase of products and services.
In relation to life insurance, baby boomers have a positive perception and attitude towards purchasing life insurance products. The life expectancy of this generation is also increasing in British countries significantly (Hoyer, Macinnis and Dasgupta 2008). The generation of baby boomers in the UK is more conscious in their purchasing decisions than other countries as while making any purchase regarding life insurance, this generation looks for the benefits of life insurance schemes. They are price conscious too, as they always look for the value of their money investment life insurance products. They are also brand conscious, as they prefer brand name and quality of services while investing in the purchase of life insurance.
Certain other factors are also taken into account by baby boomers while purchasing life insurance. For instance, while making a purchasing decision for life insurance, baby boomers consider the facts; how much money is needed for fulfilling the needs of their children? How much money is required in paying for the education of each child? How they will survive and manage their lives when their youngest child leaves them alone, and how much money is needed for providing financial help to their spouse until their retirement and during that retirement. Most of the above-mentioned questions are considered by baby boomers while making the decision for purchasing a life insurance policy (DeVaney 1995).
Subculture refers to a particular group of people in a culture that establishes a different identity of this particular group of people and differentiates them from the larger culture to which they actually belong. The subculture can be identified on the basis of a particular style, trends, age, etc. that all the members possess and they represent autonomy in the ideas and favor individualism. Baby boomers provide the best example of a change in attitude with a change in age. The major notion in the mind of baby boomers is to grow up with age as gracefully as possible. As baby boomers were all brought up in a comfortable manner, they want to remain in a comfortable position even after retirement. Sub-cultural factors have a significant contribution towards setting consumer behavior patterns of baby boomers in the context of life insurance policies in the market of UK (Baby Boom Generation: Retirement of Baby Boomers is Unlikely to Precipitate Dramatic Decline in Market Returns, but Broader Risks Threaten to Retire Security Subcultural effects n.d.). The purchasing practices of baby boomers are highly affected by three major sub-cultural factors- the need for security, the changing nature of risk, and the sociology of risks. The sociology of risk enables the baby boomers to perceive risk in a different manner (Knickman and Snell 2002). All three factors identified have a major impact on the purchasing practices of British baby boomer consumers.
As baby boomers are brought in a comfortable manner, they want to remain in a comfortable position in their after-retirement life as well. Due to this sub-cultural effect, one way by which those baby boomers think they can better prepare for old age is the purchasing of additional life insurance policies. It is an evident fact that approximately half of the population of baby boomers have purchased additional life insurance policies as an outcome of their active preparation for older life. As per the sociology of risks, baby boomers view life insurance as an effective way for the protection of their family due to an increased likelihood of their death in middle age and late-life (Moschis and Mathur 2007). As there is the widespread availability of life insurance, baby boomers can better and effectively answer their need for security.
Increase in the longevity of baby boomers have a positive effect on the life insurance market as expanded insurance products and other financial strategies make baby boomers invest in life insurance to secure their life after retirement. As the generation of the baby boom is not going to retire all at once but would cover a period of almost 30 years, the life insurance market in Europe can develop strategies for capturing the market of baby boomers effectively (Phillipsoni 2007).
Identity and Self-concept issues
At an old age, identity issues become important as old people don’t have the same identity as they used to have at a young age. Baby boomers favour individualism and they want to possess their own identity in front of the world. So, in order to maintain their identity at a significant level, they tend to invest in some life insurance policies, so that they can remain independent even after retirement. According to the self-concept issues, it is apparent that baby boomers possess a different concept of life security compared to second-generation people. This difference in self-concept leads to the creation of critical issues for baby boomers when they make a decision regarding the purchase of life insurance policies (Kitcho 2007).
Baby boomers are investing in long-term care insurance so that they can ensure the care they may need in their old age. Moreover, they are willing to make long-term insurance as a part of their retirement planning. Baby boomers have large disposable income and they can invest in their life insurance to secure their future. It is evident that the baby boomer generation has been raised in such a manner that they can live independently and have a strong belief that they can control their own destiny. Baby boomers are struggling to find a happy and appropriate medium between financial security and happiness (Roberts and Manolisv 2000).
However, the challenge for the life insurance industry lies in maintaining the correct balance between what you aspire and what are the practical scenarios. Therefore, insurance underwriters are interested in taking their efforts of marketing directly to baby boomers with the help of direct-response advertising, on-line sales, etc.
Baby boomers can be referred to as demographic engines that can bring in a societal change in any nation. It is believed that the baby boomer generation of Europe has set the trend of a healthy lifestyle in old age. Due to a sound and healthy lifestyle, baby boomers live longer and are retiring at a late stage. This reveals the fact that the life expectancy of baby boomers has increased and they are living longer. The outcome of this is that they are earning the lucrative amount of money in their career and this enables them to implement practices related to life insurance so that their growing financial needs can be addressed properly and effectively. The economic status of British people is quite sound and strong and it helps them in preparing for the care they may need in their future after retirement. In order to fulfill this purpose, they include the practices of additional life insurance when they are near their retirement so that they can maintain their trendy lifestyle even at an old age. They need funds to maintain their lifestyle (Moschis and Mathur 2007).
The lifestyle of baby boomers includes eagerness towards taking risks, search for instant gratification, and willingness to job-hop. In addition to this, their lifestyle implies that young individuals will borrow and go for life insurance policies if they expect an increase in income in the future and have a preference for steady consumption. Individuals in the baby boomer generation tend to save more proportion of their income when they come in the years approaching retirement.
By the end of 2012, the baby boomers will approach their retirement age that would result in extremely rapid growth in senior citizens of the UK which would enable the life insurance sector to attract these baby boomers with their lucrative schemes. For example, AXA Equitable, which is a life insurance company, has increased the maximum age at which customers can buy cash-value and variable life insurance. The age varies from 75-85 years. Another insurance company, named Principle Financial Group offers some of its products, such as permanent life insurance to people having age up to 90.
Although the market of life insurance in the UK is quite large, still there is a need for adopting innovative marketing strategies for capturing more market and cater to the needs of baby boomers consumers in that country. There are certain measures that can be helpful for the insurance companies in attracting and increasing their customer reach and profits. For instance, the organization in the life insurance industry needs to focus on bringing improvement and innovation in the life insurance products and plans in order to effectively meet the needs of baby boomers. The insurance agents of the life insurance companies should put their best efforts into gaining more and more information about the preferences and needs of the baby boomer segment in relation to life insurance. The insurance companies of the UK should also put more promotional efforts for increasing the selling of life insurance by baby boomers.
The companies should put extra effort into developing innovative ideas, marketing, and advertising life insurance in order to fulfill a wide range of demands of baby boomer customers. The companies should make baby boomer consumers more aware of the potential long-term benefits of their life insurance plans (Munson 2011). The insurance agents should directly approach to baby boomer consumers by taking their age into consideration. In the UK, the majority of baby boomers spend their ample amount of time in Internet browsing, thus, life insurance companies should provide them with the option of purchasing life insurance products online. The companies should include additional facilities like E-commerce in order to provide convenience to baby boomers of purchase products from their home or any other place over the Internet and increase their sales.
Baby boomers in the UK constitute a major part of the consumer segment and market. Due to an increase in the number of old people in the population which can be attributed to the increase in life expectancy of this generation, there exists a large section of baby boomers in the UK. The decision-making process, consumer perception, attitude, and motivations of baby boomers, identity and self-concept issues, sub-cultural effects, and lifestyle trends of baby boomers differ from other subcultures and require specific attention as far as the life insurance sector is concerned. All the members of the baby boomer section prefer individualism which means that they are concerned about maintaining their individuality throughout their life-span. The consumer behavior pattern of baby boomers indicates a great scope for the life insurance sector of UK, as life insurance help the generation of baby boomer to secure their future.
Life insurance companies in the UK should focus on making baby boomers more aware of the benefits of life insurance products and schemes. In addition to this, there should be additional facilities, such as e-commerce for providing convenience to baby boomers in regard to purchasing insurance products and schemes.
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