Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: The Collapse Of The RV industry

j0182280 mature market campers and RVs

Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often – The collapse of the RV industry– According to the Warranty Week, no segment seems to have been harder hit by the recent recession than recreational vehicles with the virtual collapse of the RV (recreational vehicles) industry. The report states the accruals made by manufacturers in the RV industry over the past six years increased in the second quarter of 2005 to $79 million, whereas in the final quarter of 2008 they were barely over $41 million.

The industry’s current problems stem from consumer loss of income, fluctuating interest rates, increase in fuel prices and diminished home equity financings over the last two years.

Despite being among one of the cheapest ways for Americans to vacation, Mark Schone, attributes the industry’s sudden breakdown to recession. In addition the industry has also experienced a unique and painful credit crunch, which makes it difficult to arrange loans for those who still have hopes. The two major RV manufacturers, Country Coach and Monaco Coach are on the verge of bankruptcy (by the way, if your company faces bankruptcy -regardless of industry- my brother’s firm, Equity Partners, may be able to help you).

A study conducted by the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center outlines the main reason for the growth in the numbers of RVs owned by Americans. RVs had reached record levels in the past couple of years. By the end of the decade, the number of consumers aged 50 to 64 will total 57 million or 38 percent which is higher than in 2000, as noted by Dr. Richard Curtin, director of surveys at the University of Michigan. Today there are around 8.5 million functioning RVs, which has led to a drastic growth of 58% since 1980 and one-in-12 vehicle-owning households in the above age group own at least one RV.

Even though there was a sudden decrease in the value of manufacturers’ sales of RVs in 2001, the RV market has shown immense growth in the following years. In 2004, the sales had increased by 6.7% to reach $11.4 billion, which was higher than the $7.4 billion in 2001.

Since 70% of RV production is located in Indiana and 15% in Oregon and California, these states are currently experiencing wild unemployment. Indiana currently has the highest unemployment rate in the United States.

My parters and I, at TR Mann Consulting, believe is that the industry association needs to make an aggressive advertising move. This recession is actually an opportunity for them to gain market position by positioning themselves as a vacation value. But they need to do so, by making a move to mainstream media . . . something they have been historically reluctant to do.

References

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30066873
http://www.rvindustrynews.com/News/tabid/16941/ctl/ArticleView/mid/38805/articleId/3657/RV-warranty-costs-skyrocket.aspx
http://www.rvnews.com/acover.cfm
http://www.nmma.org/lib/docs/nmma/gr/policy/Obama_letter_final.pdf
http://www.manufacturing.net/News-RV-Industry-Struggles-As-Pension-Funds-Dry-Up-030509.aspx?menuid=248
http://www.rvtradedigest.com/web/online/Industry-Business-News/CNBC-reports-that-RV-industry-is-ready-to-signal-a-turn/1$5189
http://www.rv-n-motorhomes.com/RV-Facts-Statistics.html

Mature Market Experts Gem of The Day: Baby Boomers Continue To Push On Food Labeling

Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often – Baby Boomers Continue To Push On Food Labeling – As baby boomers age, the markets are responding with healthier food choices. Under a new policy enacted by Congress, shoppers will now know where their food comes from (remember, the majority of Congress are now boomers).

According to a recent MSNBC article, “Labels on most fresh meats, along with some fruits, vegetables and other foods, will now list where the food originated. In the case of meats, some labels will list where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.”

To see a corresponding news video, click here.

Look for descriptive labeling and marketing to become more and more important (and more of an art form).

Mature Market Experts Gem Of The Day: Boomers and the Wii Fit

Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often – Boomers and the Wii Fit – My wife and I just got a “Nintendo Wii for the kids.” According to the Wii’s virtual fitness trainers on the Wii Fit game, the first time I stepped on the Wii pad, I was 15 years older than my actual age. Pretty disheartening for a guy who’s active and regularly runs marathons. I blame it on my poor balance which the game tends to penalize. Anyway, this morning I tried it again, and knocked it down to just 4 years over my actual age so I’m making progress.

No one should confuse the Wii Fit program for real science or a real cardiovascular workout but there is definitely something to be had with the concept. For example, for someone who has never had anything to do with Yoga or stretching, the Fit introduces some worthwhile drills. Most importantly, it introduces some areas to work on to improve key deficiencies (i.e. falls are the number one cause of hospitalizations among seniors, so balance is definitely worth working on). The Wii is not there yet, but it doesn’t take a genius to see where this technology is headed.

In the meantime, Nintendo … by incorporating the mature market … continues to trounce their competition.

Source: SeattlePI.com

Source: SeattlePI.com

As I’ve mentioned before, When I was at Erickson, heading up the advertising team, the brilliantly creative interactive team produced a series of incredibly cool/funny videos centered around Wii bowling at their retirement communities. Definitely worth watching!

Note: The Washington Post did an excellent review on Wii Fit.

Mature Market Experts Gem Of The Day: The Siren Call Of The Vitality Calculator

aarp-calculator1 Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often – Vitality Calculator – I’m fascinated by the “vitality calculators” popping up on all the mature market sites. From a marketing perspective, it makes absolute sense to try to engage your site visitors. People want to be reassured that they will live forever. That being said, I can’t imagine anyone being motivated to change their lifestyle from a “calculator” as simplistic as this . . . or as computer programmers used to say, “garbage in, garbage out.”

I like to remind TR Mann Consulting’s clients, that clicks don’t equal satisfaction . . . don’t insult the intelligence of your readers . . . they won’t come back.

Mature Market Experts Gem of The Day: Hearing Aids Get Stylish For Baby Boomers

The new Lyric hearing aid is a good example of how far hear aid design has come.

The new Lyric hearing aid is a good example of how far hearing aid design has come.

Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often – Hearing Aids Get Stylish For Baby Boomers – This past October I lost most of my hearing in my right ear to a relatively rare condition called Sudden Sensory Neurological Hearing Loss, so I suddenly find myself in the market for a hearing aid. Fortunately, hearing aids have become much more stylish. Once again, boomers are on the forefront of pushing for improvements . . . and it makes sense . . . 16 percent, one in six, of the 78 million boomers have some loss of hearing.

One company that certainly seems to have their product design approaching something more tolerable to the bulk of us is Lyric. The Lyric hearing aid is placed deep in the ear canal, so it is 100% invisible to other people. And the Lyric can be worn while you sweat or get wet – which is perfect for boomers who want to stay active.

I’ll be doing my research on the various hearing aid options and I’ll get back to you. In the meantime, Lyric listen up (pun intended), TR Mann Consulting can help you market your wonderfully designed product.

PS    I would be remiss if I didn’t mention two wonderful organizations that have been extremely helpful to me during this ordeal: Johns Hopkins Department of Otolaryngology, in particular, Dr. John Carey and the Hearing Loss Association of America.

Mature Market Experts Stat of The Day: A Snapshot of Mature Market Trends Shaping the Consumer Packaged Goods and Retail Industries

Mature Market Experts: more mature market news and stats more often – A Snapshot of Mature Market Trends Shaping the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) and Retail Industries – I recently read an interesting report by IRI on Boomers and the CPG category that had some interesting stats, charts and findings. IRA segments the mature market in the following way:

iri-cohort-definitions mature market

In addition to the sheer size of this population segment, as you know, the mature market controls the bulk of the nation’s wealth (yes, it’s still true despite our sagging 401Ks). So, here’s what IRI says,

“CPG manufacturers and retailers that view this group as a monolith, do so at their own peril. Market leaders who want to most effectively meet the needs of Boomers, some of whom are in their 60s, others still in their 40s, must identify the distinct and ever-changing attitudes and behaviors of literally hundreds of micro-segments based on income, geography, shopping trip missions, health and wellness and many other factors.

Overlaid with these differences in attitudes and behaviors is the profound transformation the U.S. economy is experiencing at present. Each of these micro-segments is likely to react differently to the rising then falling price of energy, a severely strained financial market, increasing unemployment and decreasing consumer confidence.

There are some broad commonalities among Baby Boomers that are worth noting, however. Approximately two-thirds of Baby Boomers will continue to work after retirement, some out of financial necessity, others from an eagerness to keep active. Baby Boomers, like their Gen X, Gen Y and younger compatriots, use the Internet actively to get information, research products and make purchases online. And, like no generation before, Baby Boomers are relying heavily on CPG products, from food and beverages to vitamins and supplements, for health and vitality. For the packaged goods industry, the opportunity is immense.”

dollar-sales-growth mature market

channel-share mature market

The full report is definitely worth looking at, although I still believe the best marketers avoid the trapping of categorizing their customers even on a micro level. I think it’s far more effective to practice relational marketing. As I’ve blogged before, this incessant labeling overlooks one key fact . . . regardless of age, we are all individuals.

David Wolfe, one of my favorite bloggers and a true expert on aging states in his blog Ageless Marketing:

“Needs drive our behavior. Our need to be physically and mentally comfortable, whole, safe and secure does not change from one generation to the next. In Maslow’s hierarchy, that bundle of needs is the most basic of all needs. Then, our need for love and to be loved never changes from one generation to the next. The same holds true of our need for self-esteem and the esteem of others.
What does change from generation to generation are the ways in which we strive to meet our needs.”

At TR Mann Consulting, we believe we are entering a new age of relational marketing . . . which has less do with age, than it has to do with technology. As ever-improving technology and quality improvement measures level the playing field in most, if not all industries, we are moving to a marketplace where your relationship with your customers is your key competitive advantage (or weakness). Simply put, it’s not just what you do; it’s how you do it. A great brand is a friendship unfolding—with each new interaction marking a new stage in the courtship. Your customer’s behavior and what they tell you as the relationship unfolds are what should be defining what “category” your customer fits in.

Adolescence Again – Your Thoughts on “Middlescence?”

Man with bicycle

Remember those adolescent years? Some of you may wish you return there again. Others may say, “No way!” When we reach our middle years, some suggest we go through a second adolescence called “middlescence.”

In the first adolescent phase, we had to deal with the challenges of moving into adult life and planning for our future. In the second, we consider our future as an aging person, and don’t forget the AARP membership invitation that arrives around your 50th birthday which helps to remind you!

I’m curious to hear your thoughts about going through middlescence. What did you experience? How did you get through it? For those about to enter this period, what are you anticipating about this phase of life?

From a mature marketer’s perspective, what do you see as the opportunities to serve others through this life course transition?