52 ELECTRICALCONTRACTOR | MAR. 15 | WWW.ECMAG.COM
> FOCUS BY SUSAN BLOOM
The term “baby boomer” refers to Americans born between 1946–1964, when the United States experienced a marked, sustained rise
in birth rates following the end of World War II. The
first baby boomers began turning 65 in 2011, and this
group is expected to live longer than previous generations. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that the
number of Americans over age 65—considered the
fastest-growing demographic in the nation—will
nearly double to 72 million and account for some
20 percent of the total population by 2030. A demographic known for its relative affluence and activism,
this growing community has exerted an increasing
influence on the nation’s economy, healthcare, culture, and consumer markets and driven noticeable
demand for a variety of specific products and services, all of which signal attractive opportunities for
savvy electrical contractors.
The buzz on boomers
According to research by AARP, nearly 90 percent of seniors
report that they want to stay in their own homes as they age—a
practice known as “aging in place”—even if they require day-to-day assistance or healthcare support.
“What people want as they get older is to preserve their
independence and way of life for as long as possible,” said
Amy Levner, manager of Livable Communities for AARP,
Older residences may not be designed to help seniors do
that, so the home-remodeling market among baby boomers is
For example, a study of remodelers by the National Association of Home Builders revealed that three-quarters of those
surveyed reported seeing an increase in inquiries related to
aging in place and that the aging-in-place remodeling market
is estimated to be valued at $20–$25 billion, roughly 10 percent
of the $200 billion-plus home-improvement industry.
“However, many people don’t really know what they need to
do to their homes so that they can stay there for the long-term
and will definitely require the expertise of electrical contractors,” Levner said.
Some of the biggest baby boom opportunities for electrical
contractors are in the areas of lighting, security, and home automation and control.
“Good overhead and task lighting—such as in kitchens and
bathrooms, as well as aesthetically pleasing directional lighting, such as running lights set into steps or along walls to help
navigate paths—make homes brighter and allow people to do
their daily activities more safely and without creating a stigma,”
Levner said. “Older residents also want easy-to-use security sys-
As baby boomers age, opportunities abound for
ECs to serve the needs of this growing market
Business Is Booming