Grandparent spending

If you're targeting the family market and not tapping into grandparent spending, you're missing a boatload of dollars. Learn what you can do to make your LBE more grandparent friendly, and you'll be rewarded with the ka-ching sound at the cash register.

When we think about the family market, we often forget what can be a significant part of it — the grandparent market. No, we aren't talking about grandparents climbing rock walls or riding bumper cars. We're talking about grandparents taking their grandchildren out for a meal and/or entertainment.

Grandparents are big spenders on their grandchildren, especially when the grandparents live close to their grandchild. On average, grandparents spend $1,027 total per year on their grandchildren. Grandparents who see their grandchildren three or more times a month spend 54% more than those who see them two or fewer times a month ($1,224 versus $794).

U.S. grandparents in the West spend the most ($1,300) annually, and those in the Eastern U.S. spend the least ($821). Grandparents in Southern states spend more on entertainment than do grandparents in any other region.

Total spending increases with the number of grandchildren in the family ($739 for one grandchild, $1,087 for two or more).

The age of the grandchild also influences spending. Grandparents with grandchildren 3 years or older spend 87% more than those with grandchildren 2 years or younger ($1,054 versus $567).

Grandfathers spend 14% more than grandmothers.

Nearly four in 10 grandparents (37%) say it's their responsibility to spoil their grandparent.

Capturing the grandparent market is not a no-brainer. Older grandparents may have special needs. Their eyesight may be deteriorated, so they need higher contrasts to read signs. They may need benches to sit on while their grandchildren play. Outdoors, they need shade. They may have special dietary needs, including no sugar and low- or no-fat. Grandfathers, the bigger spenders, may have a hearing loss. This means they might avoid facilities that are loud and reverberant, as they want to be able to hear and understand what their grandchildren are saying.

With appropriately designed facilities and marketing, the grandparent-grandchild market can add significant dollars to the bottom line.