Comprehensive New Study of U.S. Grandparents

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NEW YORK, December 6, 2007 —, the premier online resource for active grandparents, together with Focalyst, the leading Boomer and Mature consumer research company, yesterday unveiled the results of a new joint study of first-time and seasoned grandparents at’s ‘Meet the Grandparents’ Marketing Forum in New York City. The report, “Meet the Grandparents: Introducing Today’s First Time and Seasoned Grandparents,” highlights the mind-set of U.S. grandparents as well as their spending, media, and behavioral habits.

Key Results

  • Grandparents spend nearly $1,700 on every new grandchild, and this number is significantly higher among first-time grandparents than seasoned grandparents ($1,882 vs. $1,501).
  • 72% of grandparents start spending before the child is born.
  • 59% believe it’s important to make financial investments for their grandchildren.
  • The Internet is cited as the most widely used source for grandparenting information.
  • 71% of grandmothers and 51% of grandfathers tell others about products that excite them, indicating how effective word of mouth marketing is with this group.

Marketing to Stage, Not Age

More than 70 million strong , grandparents are one of the largest and most powerful consumer segments in the U.S. today. This number will swell as more members of the massive Boomer generation become grandparents as well. By 2025, it is expected that one in four Americans will be grandparents. Today’s grandparents are quite different from generations past: they are active, online, youthful and open to new media and experiences. They are embracing this life stage with eagerness, open eyes and open wallets. This is particularly true when becoming a grandparent for the very first time.

“The enthusiasm and sometimes uncertainty that accompanies entry into a new life stage sparks gravitation toward new products and media to ease the transition. The grandparent life stage represents a springboard to spend discretionary income and consume child-related products and services that many have not considered for decades,” said CEO Jerry Shereshewsky.

“Becoming a grandparent is a momentous occasion – eighty-two percent of individuals said their lives had changed since becoming a grandparent and more than three-quarters of those said it was for the better,” said Heather Stern, Director of Marketing for Focalyst. “With these changes comes openness to purchasing new products. But many companies stand to miss out on this huge marketing opportunity because they are not effectively targeting this group. In fact, our research shows that almost half of grandparents surveyed feel that ads today are geared toward the younger generation. Moreover, most grandparents feel that the ad industry does not accurately portray them.”

Grandparent Buying Power

Grandparents spend $50 billion annually on their grandchildren. The spending starts early with seventy-two percent of “Meet the Grandparents” survey respondents reporting purchasing items for their grandchild before the grandchild is even born. Grandparents spend an average of $1,691 per new grandchild when combining the spending before birth and during the first year. Further, sixty percent admit to “spoiling” their grandchildren, a tendency that increases with the number of grandchildren.

Grandparents are also planning for the future. Fifty-nine percent of all grandparents surveyed believe it’s important to make financial investments for their grandchildren. Of those who made investments, nearly three-quarters (71%) say they want to contribute to their grandchild’s education. Other reasons ranged from a desire for their grandchild to get a financial head start (70%), or because the grandchild’s parents are not in a position to invest on behalf of their children themselves (40%).

The first time is a charm for marketers. First time grandparents outspend seasoned grandparents by about twenty-five percent and those that invest money on behalf of their grandchildren put away about $3,150 for the first grandchild, more than double the amount of seasoned grandparents. For their own homes, new grandparents are also buying copious baby-related items, with a majority purchasing not just toys and clothes, but nursery essentials such as baby furniture (69%), diapers (54%), baby food (57%), and safety items (51%).

Grandparents are Plugged-In

Well over half of grandparents surveyed (60%) cited the Internet as their top source for information and advice. Those that use the Internet for gathering information also find it to be very valuable, with sixty-four percent of first-time grandparents and fifty-three percent of seasoned grandparents agreeing with that statement.

Half of grandparents spend ten or more hours per week online and actively engage in at least three different online activities. They buy products (69%), comparison shop (83%), click on ads (38%), share photos (67%), and more.

“The grandparent life stage accounts for a multi-billion dollar marketplace ranging from products to services to educational investments. With grandparents today being more active and aware than ever before, the avenues for spending are varied and deep. As marketers come to the realization that purchase decisions at key points or stages in life are driven by factors other than age, grandparents are the latest consumer group to be courted by marketers — and is here to help facilitate that.” said Shereshewsky.


The “Meet the Grandparents” study was conducted online from October 30 to November 10, 2007 using Focalyst’s Boomer and Mature specialty panel developed in partnership with Lightspeed Research. The study was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 411 grandparents (age 40 and older) of which 200 of the respondents were first-time grandparents and 211 were seasoned grandparents. “First Timers” refer to those who became a grandparent for the first time in the past 12 months. “Seasoned Pros” are defined as having more than one grandchild, the youngest of which is under 5 years old. The sample was split equally between grandmothers and grandfathers. Additionally, some analysis in this report stems from The Focalyst View study which is the largest, most comprehensive study of 30,000 Boomer (b. 1946-1964) and Mature (b. before 1946) consumers. To obtain a full copy of the “Meet the Grandparents” white paper please contact Karen Chew at [email protected]

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