While many businesses in the United States and beyond remain convinced that Baby Boomers are still reluctant to make online purchases, the reality is that a significant portion of Boomers, particularly those in developed economies, are becoming increasingly tech-savvy. Tens of millions of older adults in the US already make online purchases quite frequently.
In this article, we look at Baby Boomer’s online shopping behavior and preferences.
A Growing Market
There are over 70 million Baby Boomers in the US today, while there are in excess of 110 million over 50s. Moreover, the United States has an aging population, so we can expect these numbers to grow considerably over the coming decades, so online businesses which continue to ignore seniors will miss out on a lot of sales.
Specifically, Baby Boomers account for over 40 percent of the current-day US e-commerce market, and we are likely to see this figure continue to increase as seniors continue to become more tech-savvy and spend more time online.
Furthermore, a quarter of seniors aged 55 and above have used a mobile device for online shopping, which is significant as mobile ads are typically considerably cheaper than desktop ads.
Boomers’ willingness to spend money online from their phones is yet another point that adds weight to the argument that businesses should actively and specifically target them in their online advertising campaigns.
Noteworthily, Millennials, which most US businesses tend to focus the bulk of their marketing efforts on, have seen their average income and disposable income fall by about 20 percent in the past two decades. This trend is continuing – so now is the perfect time for online businesses to shift their focus.
Online Shopping Habits & Trends
According to research, of all the generations, Baby Boomers value convenience the most, so it should come as no surprise that more and more Boomers are looking to online shopping, as they can make all kinds of purchases without having to leave their homes.
Interestingly, Boomers are also one of the most confident and independent generations when it comes to shopping, with just over 10 percent basing their purchases on advice from family members and friends, according to a survey. Again, this makes them well suited to online shopping, as they can carry out detailed research online by themselves before purchasing a product from an e-commerce platform or directly from a retailer’s website.
There is an abundance of online informational resources that Boomers and others can access to help them make an informed purchase. These include product reviews and unboxing videos on YouTube, detailed written reviews on forums and dedicated review websites, and information and short reviews and ratings displayed on product listings. A great example of a business that is helping Boomers make better buying decisions is Boomer Buyer Guides – check them out.
Finally, Baby Boomers are the only generation that is least likely to buy a product of a specific brand because they have purchased it in the past. In other words, they are open to trying out new brands and can, therefore, be a more accessible market to target for a new or unestablished brand – provided the product can compete on price and quality with its more established rivals.
A Quick Summary
- Many businesses in the US remain hesitant to target Baby Boomers and seniors in general in their online marketing campaigns, as they still believe they aren’t tech-savvy enough for online shopping.
- However, Baby Boomers account for 40 percent of the US e-commerce market, and this figure is likely to grow further as seniors become more tech-savvy and thus more open to making online purchases.
- With Millennials’ purchasing power decreasing over the past two decades, while Baby Boomers’ disposable income has risen, it is time businesses start paying attention to Boomers in their online marketing efforts.
- Various shopping trends and preferences of Baby Boomers suggest they will increasingly use online shopping over the coming decades.
- For example, research suggests that Boomers value the convenience the most out of all the generations. As the convenience of online shopping is simply unrivaled by in-store shopping, we can expect to see more and more seniors making the switch over time.