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Interesting Facts about the Grandparent Market

MetLife and the AARP have both conducted in-depth research on grandparents and recently released their findings. I’ll share with you some of the key findings that are relevant to the out-of-home entertainment, leisure and restaurant industries.

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of today’s grandparents are under the age of 65. In fact ,in 2010 54% were under the age of 65 and 20% were age 45-54. Forty-nine percent (49%) became a grandparent before the age of 50.

Here’s an infographic on how many grandchildren grandparents have.

Two-thirds of grandparents (67%) live in the same household or within 50 miles of their grandchildren.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of grandparents have grandchildren ages 6 to 11 and 53% have grandchildren age 5 or younger. Almost half (47%) have grandchildren ages 12 to 17.

The sweet spot for grandchild-grandparent interaction is with grandchildren ages 6 to 11. Grandparents report a great deal of activity with this age group. It seems to be the time when grandchildren are old enough to enjoy substantive intergenerational activities and communication together and not yet at the age where they tend to spend more time with friends than family. Grandparents take advantage of this time in their grandchildren’s lives by getting familiar with the children’s interests and offering fun new experiences to grandchildren.

Grandparents report one of their common activities with grandchildren is going out to eat. To tap this market, restaurants and entertainment centers should recognize that this is as a very common intergenerational activity and create special opportunities for grandparents and grandchildren to dine out in affordable, kid-friendly settings for younger grandchildren and fun atmospheres for pre-teen and teenage grandchildren, while also being comfortable for grandparents as well.

Surveyed grandparents were asked about their roles and the importance of their relationships with their grandchildren. Spoiling the grandkids is by far on top (36%) – that view has stayed consistent over the years. It’s the only role that grandparents seem to think is more theirs than that of parents or shared between grandparents and parents.

The main activity grandparents report doing with their grandchildren is watching TV and videos (75%). They also enjoy shopping (63%), outings such as movies, amusement parks and museums (55%) and playing video games (35%) with their grandchildren.

Ninety-three percent (93%) of grandparents believe it is their role to have fun with their grandchildren and 77% believe it is their role to take grandchildren to cultural events.

Fifty-seven percent (57%) believe it is their role to spoil their grandchildren by spending too much.

Eighty-two percent (82%) of grandparents report that they spend money to entertain and have fun with their grandchildren.

The grandparent market is a significant market that is too often overlooked in both the design and marketing of restaurants and entertainment and leisure venues.

About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 31-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri, has worked for over 600 clients in 37 countries throughout the world. Projects the company has designed and produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of leisure experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment/agritourism, play and leisure facilities.

Randy was featured on the Food Network's Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company's projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment.

Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

He has authored over 150 articles that have been published in over 40 leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker and keynoter at over 40 different conventions and trade groups.

Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter and Linkedin.

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