Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomer Buying Habits

Marketing Scuba to Different Generations – Survey Results

The most recent edition of The Undersea Journal examines the three major generations in our world today: Echo-Boomers, Generation X, and Baby Boomers. We find out what aspects of scuba diving appeal to each generation, and how to tailor a marketing message for each group.

PADI's Undersea Journal second quarter 2009 cover

Below are the results of a survey we conducted in December 2008 as part of the research for this article. For an explanation of how these findings translate into specific marketing opportunities, please read the article in the most recent Undersea Journal (pictured above).

Buying Habits of Consumers from Different Generations

Total # of respondents: 273 (55% were non-divers).
Brands admired by all generations: Apple and Google.
Runners up: Nintendo, Microsoft, REI, Toyota, eBay, Sony, Pixar, Target, Starbucks.

How much do you consider a splurge?
Most common answer from Boomers: $100 or more.
Most common answer from Echo-Boomers – $20.

How much do you budget for vacations?
The older Gen-Xers and Boomers tied for the highest dollar amount budgeted for vacations: $2000 – $2999 per person. 25% of Echo-Boomers reported, “someone else pays for my vacations.”

Who spends the most time online (for fun as opposed to work)?
Respondents between 26-30 years old spend the most time online – for fun. Roughly one in three spend two hours per day online. One in four spend more than three hours per day online.

What generation has the most free time?
The 63+ folks (the generation before baby boomers), followed by “Classic” Boomers (52-62 years old). The Classic Boomers reported having either15-20 hours of free time each week and 7-14 hours per week (tie).

What generation works the most?
Older Gen-Xers (39-43 years old) reported spending the most hours per week at work. 69% reported working 41-60 hours per week. The second-most hard-working group was the cusp between Gen X and Echo-Boomers. The majority puts in 41-50 hours per week at work.

Echo-Boomers Highlights:
Echo-Boomers say they have between 4-14 hours per week of free time.
Their fun time on the internet is spent on email (#1), social networking (#2) and viewing entertainment (#3). Of those surveyed, 62% became divers because a parent or family member dives.

Income (before taxes) by Age Group
Under 25: $28k
25-34: $57k
35-44: $75K
45-54: $77k
55-64: $65k
65-74: $46k
75 and older: $29k

Interesting findings based on gender, and divers vs non-divers


Male vs. Female

Males reported working longer hours (62% worked 40-60 hours/ week) than females, but both reported having similar amounts of free time.

Priorities for both genders were very similar:spending time with family, my health, and owning my own home ranked in the top three for both men and women.

Factors that influence my decision to try something new were also the same.
Top three: it fits my budget / it’s something I can do with my family / the ability to challenge myself.

Males have higher threshold for impulse spending. When asked, “how much do you consider a splurge,” both genders’ #1 answer was $100 – but for males, the #2 answer was $500 (versus $50 for women)

Similarly, males also budget more for vacations. Female’s top answer was $500-$999 per person, but for men it was $1500 to $1999.


Divers vs. Non-Divers

What do you splurge on?
Divers #1 answer was travel. For non divers travel was #3.

What’s the most expensive purchase you’ve ever made? Divers’ #1 answer was $1k – $2999 followed by $15k+.
Non-divers top answer was $1k – $2999 followed by $3k – $4999.

Similarly, divers had a much higher budget for their vacations: $2k – $2999 was most popular answer (versus $400-$999 for non-divers).

The non-diving group also skewed quite a bit younger.
60% of respondents were under 40 and 37% were under 30. Of the diving group, 54% were 40 or older.

How To Use This Information
The Undersea Journal* cover story discusses specific marketing tactics, you can read an excerpt here. Feel free to leave feedback and comments below.

*The issue began mailing 23 April 2009. Please allow two weeks for your copy to arrive (6 weeks for outer-island members). If your magazine does not arrive, contact PADI’s customer service department at 800 729 7234 ext. 2495.


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