Monday, April 13, 2009

Baby Boomer is not a universal term

This is a very interesting blog posting by Des Walsh about the usefulness of the term “Baby Boomer” or any of the other generational definitions (e.g. Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Jones ..) when talking about the demographics of China. He concludes that the term doesn’t have much relevance. Do have a look at his presentation about PR 2.0 that was given to a Chinese audience.

The above graph shows the birth rate in the UK and US normalised to 1940. As you can see the UK tracked the US birth rate for a few years after the war, then declined and didn’t start increasing again until 1956. The term Baby Boomer is about as much use in the UK context as it is in China (i.e. none at all). Of course that doesn’t stop marketers bandying it about, without any real understanding if its meaning.

Also, I wish we would ditch the terms Gen X and Gen Y, neither of which are based on any real behavioural evidence. We marketers just love this meaningless jargon.

It appears from the blog that Forrester has realised the lack of relevance of the term to the Chinese market. I wish they would do the same for the UK. Dick Stroud


Pat said...

'Baby boomer' may not be relevant to China but Gen X/Y definitely are.

China is still in a rapid phase of modernization and to think that they speak with a homogeneous voice be a grave error. The above links highlight anecdotal findings but real behavioural evidence and data does exist.

Anonymous said...

Let's make two plus equal five ... Pearl Harbour (sorry - "harbor") and US joins the war. Birth rate declines in US and rises in UK?

The old saying: "Over paid, oversexed and over here"??