Don’t Ignore Boomer Trend: It’s Real

Baby Boomers

Some have been skeptical about the idea that baby boomers are choosing apartment living. Make no mistake, it’s happening.

Many boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – are downsizing and selling their homes. They’re moving into apartment homes where yard work, refinancing and home improvements are no longer required.

Apartment marketing has been hyper-focused on millennials in recent years, and for good reason. Millennials are by far the largest percentage of renters. But with the boomer trend taking hold, it might be time to make a slight adjustment.

“Boomers account for approximately 19 percent of our overall web traffic,” said Ryan Perez, director of marketing for CF Real Estate Services. “Specifically gearing your digital strategy to focus primarily on millennials may be alienating a sizable portion of your targeted renter demographic.” 

According to the Chicago Tribune, roughly 10 million people in their 50s and 60s rented in 2005. That number increased to 15 million in 2015.

While marketing to millennials remains a top priority, here are a few tips to expand your reach to older renters:

  • Segment your email list. Know the demographics of your prospects and tailor email communication accordingly. Copy and imagery sent to boomers should not be the same as what you send to millennials. Offbeat, sarcastic humor is appealing to millennials, but offensive to Boomers.
  • Focus on different amenities. Whether you’re communicating through email or in person, make sure you know your boomer audience. For example, boomers might be more interested in the business center and clubhouse than the yoga studio.
  • Broaden the attractions. You can’t create custom copy for every visitor of your website, but you can keep boomers in mind when putting together the content. Millennials might care about the nearby clubs and nightlife options, but boomers might prefer local Farmers Markets and theaters.  Boomers may also respond to messaging that references specific community amenities, such as security and maintenance.
  • Offer boomer-friendly service options. Communities that don’t allow residents to pay rent and submit service requests through an online and mobile resident portal seem archaic to millennials. Boomers might prefer to pay with a check and to communicate through email rather than a resident portal. While millennials may communicate through more cutting-edge mediums, boomers may prefer other  media such as email.  Ensure that your community offers channels to reach both segments.

It might also be time to retrain some of your associates or alter training methods for new hires. Andrew Livingstone, executive managing director of property management for Greystar, recently told Multifamily Executive that his company looks for associates “who understand the process of being a lot more patient” and understand the types of amenities boomers are seeking when researching apartments.

The trend of boomers renting apartments is real. Those who embrace it could reap the benefits of tapping into a whole new consumer segment.