Entertainment Consumption Habits - 55+ Age Group

of six

Over 55 - Television Viewing Habits

The vast majority of Baby Boomers (80%) watch television on a traditional TV. Our research found that Baby Boomers, as a whole, have a diverse range of television channel/content preferences. However, two television-content preferences that are quite popular among Baby Boomers are local news and cable programming.

U.S. Baby Boomers' Television Viewing Habits

  • Among U.S. baby boomers ages 65+, 57% "often get their news from local TV."
  • Cable television programming is very popular among Baby Boomers, as just 18% of U.S. baby boomers between the ages of 54 and 72 said they have "never subscribed to pay TV" (meaning 82% have). On a related noted, Baby Boomers spend $106.80 on pay-TV per month (on average).
  • A June 2015 survey of U.S. Baby Boomers asked what TV networks/channels they watch. The following are the percentages of Baby Boomers who watch the respective TV networks/channels: CBS (12%); ABC (10.5%); NBC (9.6%); Fox 5.9%; Fox News 4.5% (separate from the previous Fox); ESPN (5.4%); TNT (5%); History Channel (4.7%); USA channel (4.3%); and Netflix (7.9%). A screenshot of the graph that illustrates the aforementioned data is included in this Google Doc.
  • In 2018, Baby Boomers between the ages of 55 and 64 spent an average of 305 minutes watching TV each day, which equates to 5.08 hours per day (305 / 60; rounded to the nearest hundredth).
  • In 2018, Baby Boomers ages 65+ spent an average of 353 minutes watching TV each day, which equates to 5.88 hours per day (353 / 60; rounded to the nearest hundredth).
  • The average number of networks that Baby Boomers watch on TV is 12.
  • Thirty-one percent of Baby Boomers ages 65+ expressed either a somewhat or very favorable view of the horror TV show genre.
  • With regard to the 2019 Oscars award show specifically, 18% "of Baby Boomers" said that they would likely watch.

Research Strategy

We identified the television viewing habits of U.S. Baby Boomers through a combination of research reports and media articles directly pertaining to this topic. Statista was a key source we used for research reports that published survey findings. We included the 2015 survey results because that was by far the most-comprehensive channel/genre information we found about U.S. Baby Boomers' television preferences. In addition to Statista, we also reviewed media articles that discussed survey findings on this topic. Examples of those sources we consulted include Forbes, eMarketer, and Market Watch. Our findings are specific to Baby Boomers in the U.S., as was requested.
of six

Over 55 - Free Time

Babyboomers are an increasingly influential group in the leisure activity market due to the increasing number of retirees. Travel among this group, both domestically and internationally, is consistently popular alongside the more traditional activities like television watching and reading. Volunteering is another popular use of leisure time.

International Travel

  • 53% of Babyboomers planned international travel in 2019. Bucket list type trips are the top type of international travel undertaken by Babyboomers.
  • The average yearly spend on travel by Babyboomers is $6,000.
  • Europe is the most popular international travel destination for Babyboomers, with 41% planning a trip to Europe in 2019/20.
  • 30% of Babyboomers who plan to travel internationally will travel via a cruise ship.
  • Connecting with locals for an authentic experience is one of the most popular aspects of international travel for Babyboomers.

Domestic Travel

  • The majority of Babyboomers (94%) will take at least one domestic trip annually. On average, Babyboomers will take between 3 and 4 domestic trips each year.
  • Florida and California are the most common domestic travel destinations for Babyboomers.
  • 57% of Babyboomers will travel domestically to spend time with friends and family.
  • Skip generation trips (grandparent/grandchild travel) are popular, with 13% of Babyboomers planning a trip of this nature.


  • In 2018, 25.7% of Babyboomers volunteered in the community.
  • Volunteering has been shown to have significant health benefits for people who have retired from paid employment.
  • In a survey completed by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 66% of participants reported decreased feelings of isolation after starting to volunteer. Of those who reported these feelings, 67% felt more socially connected after starting volunteering.
  • 22.6 million Babyboomers volunteered in 2017. The Babyboomer generation volunteer numbers were higher than any other generational group.
  • In 2015, it was predicted that retirees would donate approximately $1.4 trillion in volunteer services over the next 20 years.

Increased Screen Time

  • The time that Babyboomers spend on computers, tablets, or watching television has increased on average by 30 minutes per day over the last decade.
  • When Babyboomers live alone, screen time can increase to up to 10 hours per day.


  • The time spent watching television has increased among Babyboomers. On average, this group watches 2,822 minutes of television per week.
  • Science fiction programming is one of the most popular types of programming among Babyboomers. They are less enthusiastic about reality shows.


  • 87% of Babyboomers use the internet.
  • Babyboomers are more likely than any other generation, to spend more than one hour online each day.
  • The most regularly visited sites, among Babyboomers, include Google, Amazon, eBay, and weather sites.
  • Babyboomers, spend on average, 27 hours per week online.

Top 5 Leisure Activities

  • A recent Neilson survey that asked Babyboomers to indicate their favorite leisure activity found the most popular activities were watching television 42%, reading 29%, connecting with friends and family 28%, travel 22%, and listening to music 19%. Although this was a global study, it still provides some interesting insights.
  • The most recent US study found the most popular leisure activities for Babyboomers were, watching television 42%, reading 40%, the computer and internet 21%, spending time with friends and family 17%, and walking/running 11%.

Research Strategy

We searched a range of scholarly studies, industry publications, media reports, survey results, and government data to determine insights around the leisure activities of Babyboomers. We were able to identify a number of consistent themes regarding this population group. One of the difficulties is that data on a scale significant enough to make meaningful findings for the US Babyboomer population is not collected regularly. The last time this data was collected was in 2013. This is still the most current data. Most of the studies and research completed in the last two years have used this data. Given this, we have included an article that summarizes this data, despite it falling outside of the usual two-year time frame. We have also included a global study of a similar nature because the data was collected more recently, and the results were similar to those found in the US.
of six

Over 55 - Online Entertainment Choices

Some things baby boomers do to entertain themselves online include visiting Facebook, searching for information, playing online video games, watching online videos and online dating. Additional details about these activities are outlined below.

Social Media Use

  • A large majority of baby boomers (82.3%) belong to one or more social media sites.
  • Facebook is the most popular social media platform among baby boomers with 63% using it more often than other social media sites.
  • At an average of one to two hours each week, baby boomers spend less time on social media than younger generations.

Information Seeking

  • Baby Boomers tend to use the internet to do additional research on things they see online. In fact, over half of baby boomers report they go to other websites to find additional information on things they see on social media.
  • For example, they may visit a company website to learn more about a product they saw on Facebook.
  • Around 60% of baby boomers spend time reading articles and blogs online.

Online Video Games

  • About a quarter of baby boomers report playing online video games.
  • Some examples of popular video games among those age 55+ include Qwirkle, Candy Crush Saga and Bejeweled.

Watching Videos

  • Just over half (51.5%) of baby boomers watch digital videos online.
  • YouTube is the preferred website used by baby boomers to watch online videos.
  • Of those who watch digital videos online, 47% report that they or another member of their household subscribe to a streaming video service.

Online Dating

  • Baby boomers are increasingly getting involved with online dating, with approximately 20 million baby boomers actively using online dating sites in 2019.
of six

Over 55 - Spending Habits

People over the age of 55, or Baby Boomers, are purchasing more items online. They also spend a lot on leisure travel and are more concerned with purchasing healthy food. Below you will find a deep dive of findings related to the spending habits of people over the age of 55.



  • Baby Boomers spend an average of $7,802 per household on groceries per year.
  • They also spend an average of $3,245 per year on eating out. This breaks down to about $270 per month on food away from the home.
  • 49% of Baby Boomers purchase "functional foods" that contain probiotics and vitamins.
  • This generation spends 3.4% more on health foods than other generations.


  • Baby Boomers spend about 1.1% of their expenditures on entertainment. This breaks down to only $680 per year.
  • 44% of Baby Boomers spend money on attending live entertainment shows.


  • Baby Boomers make up 46.8% of spending on pets.
  • This generation spends the most money on their pets of all generations.


Online Shopping

  • 92% of Baby Boomers have shopped online.
  • Transactions made by people age 60 to 69 make up 40% of Visa's card-not-present (CNP), meaning online, transactions.
  • 27% of Baby Boomers say they have ordered groceries online.
  • 53% of Baby Boomers prefer to shop online than shop in brick-and-mortar stores.
  • This generation spends an average of $203 on each online purchase.

Value-Based Purchasing

  • 77% of Baby Boomers are more concerned about the value of a product than how much it costs.
  • 75% of this group is more likely to purchase an item if it there is a discount, coupon, or loyalty perk associated with it.
  • Baby Boomers value brands in which they have positive interactions with retail associates during in-store purchases.
of six

Over 55 - Streaming Services Use

  • Sixty-eight percent of Baby Boomers in the United States are streaming news, music, and general entertainment. The top channels visited by this age group are Star News, Fox News, and Watch JoJo.

Baby Boomers Streaming Service Use

  • The average baby boomer streams a video on connected TV for 3 hours and 45 minutes a week.
  • About 80 percent of this age group stream videos on YouTube, which appears to be one of their "biggest sources of online video."
  • The three reasons extended by Google for this streaming habit include; they turn to YouTube to save time, to get help and learn something new, and to stay plugged in with entertainment and news.
  • According to a Google/Ipsos survey, 68 percent of Baby Boomers in America use streaming services for entertainment.
  • The survey reveals that the top three entertainment categories are general entertainment, music, and news. Whereas, the top channels visited include Star News, Fox News, and Watch JoJo.
  • In 2018, eMarketer estimated that 51.5% of baby boomers in "the United States watched digital video at least once per month."
  • When binge-watching through digital streaming, Baby Boomers watch an average of 4.5 episodes in a single sitting.
  • About fifty percent of those aged over 55 (who stream) predominantly use desktops or laptops when streaming their favorite videos or shows.
  • Nearly 30 percent of American Baby Boomers utilize streaming services on a daily basis, according to Deloitte Research.
  • In 2017, internet-connected TV-watching audience among the Baby Boomers grew by 45 percent.
  • According to a new Rotten Tomatoes survey, Baby Boomers' preferred and favorite streaming choice is Netflix.
  • A recent E-Poll survey found that, of those Baby Boomers who wanted to stream a TV show, 24 percent turned first to Netflix. They are big consumers "even of its more technically challenging features, such as the year-old service that lets viewers download a show to watch later," of which 47% stated they had done.
of six

Best Practices - Marketing to Consumers 55 and Over

Four best practices when marketing to people over 55 years of age are the use of formal approaches; the inclusion of catchy, relevant, and concise headlines; the use of content and strategies which do not make baby boomers feel old; and the use of written content and videos. Provided below are details on each practice and how marketers can implement them.

1. Use Formal Approaches (Avoiding Informal Language, Slang, and Abbreviations)

  • They should avoid the informal presentation of content, abbreviations, and technological terms when targeting baby boomers.
  • Slang and abbreviations, which can be confusing to this group, should also be avoided. It is important to ensure that the message is well spelled out and clear.
  • If using an abbreviation, acronym, or pop-culture reference that can add value to the message, the group of letters or informal terms should be introduced the first time they are used, with a full explanation of their meaning.
  • If these terms do not add any value to the content, they should be fully avoided.

2. Come up with Catchy, Relevant, and Concise Headlines

  • Baby boomers are unlikely to fall for clickbait headlines. They require economical and relevant headlines for marketing.
  • Marketers targeting this age group should be witty and sophisticated to attract this intelligent crowd.
  • It is important to present what is being offered in an upfront way because baby boomers are likely to gain interest in it so long as it pertains to them.
  • Some relevant topics are "Business Advice From Bill Gates" and "7 Tips For Restaurant Owners." Baby boomers can easily relate to these topics.
  • Marketing to this group should provide a clear indication of the product and service in the title or headline. This will ensure that the target audience does not lose interest.

3. Use of Content and Strategies Which Do Not Make Baby Boomers Feel Old

  • Baby boomers feel offended when marketers assume that they know nothing about the latest trends or technologies. They should be treated as equals and not made to feel irrelevant. It is important not to call them old.
  • It is important not to over-explain every trend or technology term that is used in the content. On the other hand, marketers should not oversimplify content and make it seem like it is intended for children.
  • The content should not be condescending about their age. When in doubt, marketers should avoid talking about baby boomers' age and if possible, make them feel younger than they are.
  • The message should be directed to the baby boomers themselves, and not their families or caretakers. Marketers should not assume that members of this age group are out of touch with today's world or incapable of making their own choices.

4. Use of Written Content and Videos

  • Baby boomers enjoy and are interested in written content. Marketers should invest more in creating blog posts and e-books when targeting baby boomers.
  • They are also more patient with video content and marketers should create product promotion and how-to videos.
  • When creating videos, marketers can use different strategies such as explainer videos and whiteboard videos to ease understanding and promote products in a friendly way.
  • When using written content, the material should allow the baby boomers to dig into all the fine details of the product or service which is being marketed.

Research Strategy

We began our research by searching for articles, surveys, and other credible sources of marketing practices. We aimed to identify the best practices for marketing to people over 55 years of age (baby boomers), with a specific reference to media and entertainment platforms. From all the practices that were featured in these sources, we selected four, which had the highest mentions in several sources and identified them as best practices. We have listed them in the findings above.