Marketers may need an update on the long-held notion that older consumers are stingily existing on a fixed income.  Many older consumers are grandparents, up to 69.6 million individuals, and these consumers enjoy spending  money on their grandchildren. The average grandparent household spends over $300 annually to help out the youngest generation of their family. Marketers who pay attention to where these consumers shop and to their media habits could benefit as the size of the grandparent generation is expected to grow quickly in the next few years.

New Nielsen research indicates that nearly 4 out of 10 grandparents spend money on behalf of the grandchildren. This spending effort includes:

  • Clothing: 23%
  • Food/beverage: 20%
  • Education expenses: 10%
  • Daycare costs: 8%
  • Medical care/doctor visits: 5%

Consumers with just one grandbaby tend to spent more than average on baby food, diapers, toys and sporting goods and photographic supplies. In addition, consumers who are age 50+ have favorite retail formats. Look for grandparent shopping to take place at supercenters, warehouse club outlets and dollar stores. Grocers can also benefit from grandparent spending in families where grandma is seeing the young ones on a daily basis.

Marketers needs to connect with the grandparent generation via TV. Consumers over age 65 watch more TV than other age groups. But younger grandparents are increasingly digital. Grandparents over age 50 spend a significant amount of time emailing, paying bills and researching online.

[Source: Hale, Todd. U.S. Grandparents Share More Than the Love. NielsenWire.com. blog.nielsen.com. 14 Feb. 2011. Web. 15 Mar. 2011]