Future of wealth

Analysis

The future of wealth in the United States: Why should CMOs care?

Can you guess which generation will be the wealthiest in 2030?

If you said Baby Boomers, you guessed right! Surprised? So were we. In 2030, when the last Boomer will have turned 66, Boomers will still control 45 percent of household wealth in the United States, according to our study “The future of wealth in the United States: Mapping trends in generational wealth.” Due to sheer numbers—in 2030 nearly 60 million will be alive—and with formidable wealth, Boomers will upend conventional wisdom by redefining the American economy, yet again.

This is not to suggest that younger generations will remain in their shadow: quite the contrary. Gen Xers, America’s neglected middle children, are entering the most financially rewarding period of their lives, and over the next fifteen years will accumulate about $37 trillion in wealth. Along the way, they may also buy bigger homes, drive better cars, and wear more expensive watches than they wear today!

Millennials, the toast of marketers everywhere, are about to shake up the US economy, but not necessarily in the way you might have imagined. While they will drive consumption, their wealth will significantly trail that of older generations—even in 2030, Millennials are unlikely to hold more than 20 percent of the country’s wealth. Instead, the manner in which they access and consume products and services will likely be their most pronounced impact on the marketplace. Their behaviors are already disrupting long entrenched sales and distribution models, a trend likely to intensify in the next decade.

We base these insights on Deloitte’s proprietary forecasts of generational wealth. Understanding how wealth among different generations will evolve is not only important to marketers in the financial services industry but is also important in other industries including, automotive, consumer products, and technology. Our data show that generational marketing may become even more vital in the future. Chief marketing officers (CMOs) of firms in these and other industries should use these insights to inform their strategic marketing choices on how to meet the shifting needs of customers in each generation.

We invite you to read our paper and dive into our forecasts using this exciting interactive graphic. If you’re pressed for time, this short video is a great overview of our most important findings for marketing strategists. Our forecasts provide an alternative way to size and segment the market for your products, and will likely spur new thinking when combined with perspectives unique to your industry. We look forward to hearing your views on how the evolution of generational wealth will influence your marketing programs.

Published on January 25, 2016.

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