Baby Boomers are 50% consumer spending? Total BULL!

Someone here said very officially that Baby Boomers are still 50% of the consumer spending.

Nowhere nearly true. Our inflated ideas on how great the boomers are need a big reality check. The Millennials are slightly bigger than the boomers generation. The Xers are smaller but making more money. The Zs will pass the boomers in the next ten years. The Zs are slightly smaller than the boomers in number of people.

Annual household expenditures by generation U.S. 2021 | Statista.

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The someone was me. I sourced it to VISA, who probably knows something about consumer spending.

December 17, 2018 – While millennials have dominated headlines in recent years, baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) have continued to dominate consumer spending in the U.S. In fact, consumers over 50 now account for more than half of all U.S. spending. They are also responsible for more spending growth over the past decade than any other generation, including the coveted millennials.

As a group, this over-50 crowd should continue to be a major force in U.S. consumer spending, especially as those over 60 years old drive growth over the next five to 10 years, according to Visa Business and Economic Insights.

This is happening for two reasons: demographics—there are simply more consumers over 60 than there were 10 years ago—and behavior. Baby boomers, compared to generations that preceded them, are retiring later, holding on to more debt and maintaining budgets for travel and other discretionary treats.

Your chart is “household spending.” There are more boomer households, for one. For another, ah well, what’s the point?


Also, the VISA report was from five years ago and included those born up until 1968 rather than 1964. Nine years can make a difference in demographic numbers.


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ah I see what you mean $70 tr in assets to spend down.

Of course, that is half of X, all of boomer, and all of silent, according to the year breakdown in the chart.

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The chart is not relevant as I had thought it was.

The boomers have the assets to spend down. The other generations do not. Income is not that important to this. The country has $140 tr in assets. The boomers own half of that. If you think of corporate interests and government owned assets etc…the other generations are not even splitting the other half of it.

@Goofyhoofy when you said what is the point…you could not explain it yourself. You seemed to hear it somewhere and not know why it was happening that boomers consume more.

Not really relevant since the chart you link upthread showed Boomers average spending was less than X or millennials. It is what they spend, not what they hold that matters for this discussion.

This should help resolve this tangled web of misunderstandings.

  1. The majority of direct spending in the USA is done by those >50 years, not just the Boomers. This group also includes about half of X and all of silent (as tamhas pointed out).

  2. The >50 group is roughly 40% of the population but according to an AARP study accounts for:

“…Fifty-six cents of every dollar spent in the United States in 2018 came from someone 50 or older, the study finds. In 2050, that number is projected to be 61 cents of every dollar…” AARP Study: Americans 50 and Older are Growing Economic Powerhouse.

In the US, older households spend more, probably because younger ones are paying of mortgages and student loans.


ah LMAO I was mistakenly throwing Goofy a bone for his troubles. “Spending” when I thought I was debating Goof over income. I had insomnia two nights ago.

@btresist You got me there. Still the assets are piled up with the boomers. Where those assets go are to the next generations either way. Mostly.

Too bad about the insomnia, but Goofyhoofy deserves more than just a bone as he was correct about his main point that most US consumer spending is from older folks. The under 50 crowd has too much housing costs and debt to deal with. Goofy is right that Boomers are a major factor in driving the US consumer market.

“Millennials and Gen Z may drive trends and make headlines in the United States, but Boomers are still the core consumers. They’re the ones who move markets."” Understanding China’s Young Consumers.

The situation appears to be different in China where it looks like the under 40 demographic is driving most discretionary spending. The linked article was written in 2021 so misses the most recent bad economic news but it noted the rather remarkable statistics that:

Seventy-nine percent of the spending on luxury goods and services in China is done by people under 40. Not only that, according to both McKinsey and Bain, China will account for roughly half of all global luxury spending by 2025. Pre-Covid, China was the largest outbound travel spender in the world — and the 40-and-under population hold two-thirds of the country’s passports.

China’s consumer economy is driven by its younger demographic that is rapidly declining as a proportion of the population and is currently suffering from 20+% unemployment. That’s a bad situation for a country that wants to increase consumer spending. The link from Harvard Business nicely explains why the US and China exhibit different generational spending habits. I think this is important to understand if one wants an accurate perspective of China’s economic problems.



Nah the boomers are not the bigger spenders. The Millennials are a bigger group than the boomers. Retirees spend less and less. Besides the boomers are often poor. The ones with huge assets can not spend it all.

You flipped from right to wrong.,of%20Americans%20own%20retirement%20accounts.

More than two-fifths of baby boomers are nearing retirement with no retirement savings.

My comment those boomers are selling assets to survive come retirement.

At the same time, looking at assets by generation:

Baby Boomers      $78 trillion
Generation X       46
Silent Generation  19
Millennials        13

Visualizing U.S. Wealth by Generation.
Somebody is going to be inheriting a boat load of money as the Boomers die out.


We are all entitled to our own opinions, but I guess I feel more comfortable being in agreement with the Harvard Business Review than (no offense) an artist who still thinks NFTs are going to be a big thing.

Boomers are not the biggest US consumer group, but they are probably the most influential. US News & World reported that the Boomer generation controls 70% of the nation’s disposable income and so have the most potential spending power. They remain the elephant in the room.


Tells me you can not think for yourself. The NFTs are a non issue here. You do not know anything about the NFT market’s future.

Worse we are discussing American Baby Boomers. The Harvard Business Review article you quoted was on Chinese consumption.

No offense but please think as you post about what you are actually saying.

If you meant to dismiss my thoughts you really were terrible at doing that. I had it entirely right.

adding the US News report was from 2015. There is no point at all in citing it. Retirees spend less and less.