A seismic demographic shift is underway in the United States as the fading baby-boom generation gives way to the ascendant generation known as millennials. The future of the entire American racing industry will increasingly depend on the degree of success that racetracks and advance deposit wagering firms have in turning millennials into customers.

Businesses in the United States have long concentrated their efforts on baby boomers, simply because boomers represented the largest slice of the population.  But boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) have now been displaced as the largest population cohort by millennials (born between 1982 and 2000).  The U. S. Census Bureau reports that baby boomers currently comprise 24% of the population (75 million people), whereas millennials account for 26% (83 million people).

Leisure activities and brands that were favored by baby boomers can’t count on legacy loyalty from millennials.  Golf, for example, is in decline partly because of the number of players under age 35 who have given up playing, and the average student attendance at college football games–even including the power conferences—has dropped 7.1% since 2009, according to a recent analysis by the Wall Street Journal.  McDonald’s, a chain that started and prospered with the patronage of baby boomers, is struggling because it is being rejected by so many millennials.

Though millennials are the most educated generation ever, they have generally experienced relatively poor employment outcomes, many are burdened with student debt, and 15% of them live with their parents.  However, as baby boomers continue to retire and vacate full-time jobs, millennials will take their place and gain purchasing power.  Thus companies ignore them at their peril.

How to attract millennials as customers is an issue that consumer products companies must sort out.  Horse racing’s technical capability to be digitally conveyed and promoted over the Internet to mobile devices is a cornerstone for an effective millennial strategy.

Copyright © 2014 Blood-Horse Publications.  Used with permission.


  1. I agree that millennials are the keys to the kingdom of horseracing, but don’t count on boomers retiring to make room for millennials. in case you haven’t noticed, most boomers can’t retire if they wanted to…boomers will be working long after the traditional retirement age. millennials aren’t looking for boomers’ jobs either. millennials are an entirely different breed of cat. look for an overlap of those two generations if you want to save the sport of racing.