A new Nielsen report indicates that Baby Boomers, those individuals between the ages of 49 and 67, and Millennials, who are between 19 and 36, each make up 24 percent of the United States population. According to the report, Baby Boomers—the wealthier of the two groups—represent a nearly three-fold share of the so-called “adult Mass Affluent population,” coming in at 41 percent, compared to the Millennials’ 14 percent, MarketingCharts indicated.

The study also shows that the Mass Affluent population accounts for 11 percent of the households and 26 percent of the total wealth. Nielsen defines the Mass Affluent population as those households with liquid assets between $250,000 and $1M, excluding real estate.

One key aspect of the Mass Affluent is the way in which its digital banking needs differ by generation. Baby Boomers and those in the “Silent Generation”—those born during the Great Depression and World War II—, comprise about 77 percent of the Mass Affluent. Despite the high percentage, younger generations are gaining momentum in “importance and financial prowess,” according to Nielsen, revealing that one type of banking for all is no longer the most appropriate path to success when it comes to retail banking in the digital age.

In the traditional banking world—in which analog processing was key—large investments were made in person at a bank branch. In fact, most banking transactions were made in person at a physical branch and banking involved similar types of transactions over various locations and were typically handled by tellers and advisors.

Today, it is the digital experience with which retail banking is most concerned, Nielsen indicated. Banks are concerned with what Nielsen described as a “seamless end-to-end digitized experience for their customers,” a way of banking that may be prompted over fears that tech firms will enter the financial world.

While novel online and mobile wallet services are expected to drive greater utilization of technology for banking and retail transactions, this drive is expected to be seen among the Mass Affluent Millennials. Mass Affluent Boomers, on the other hand, may not embrace these technologies initially; however, they may drive increased use of smartphones in this sector.

While many banking professionals indicate that their top priorities are digital channels and mobile technology, the banking sector should ensure a good deal of their focus is on their best areas of opportunity; namely, affluent customers with strong assets. It is the needs and habits of this group that should be a top priority in the banking world.


MarketingCharts; Baby Boomers Comprise 41% of the Adult Mass Affluent Population; December 4, 2014.

Nielson; Digital Enablement for Retail Banking; November 25, 2014.