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The Online Shopping Habits of Today’s Baby Boomers

The Online Shopping Habits of Today’s Baby Boomers

There’s a common misconception that Baby Boomers are somehow resistant to online shopping. However, Boomers are not only making online purchases in droves, but they are also spending more than younger generations based on the size of their shopping carts. And although each generation has its defined behaviors and traits in terms of online shopping, marketers should keep this broad demographic in mind when targeting key audiences.

Deep Dive: Baby Boomers

It’s important to have a deep understanding of this generation of shoppers in order to effectively target them in your marketing strategy. Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1965, and 90% of them are married, according to Pew Research. They control over 70% of the disposable income in America, and have extremely high expectations in terms of customer service.

Their traditionalist mindset may give way to assumptions that Baby Boomers are less tech savvy or unyielding to the rise of technology. However, the vast majority of Boomers are comfortable with digital technology and can easily navigate online shopping experiences. In fact, nearly 70% of Baby Boomers own smartphones, and voice search is growing in popularity among this demographic.

Baby Boomers and Online Shopping

Baby Boomers value convenience, which is the biggest factor driving online shopping. Younger Boomers are in the prime of their career, and it may be difficult to find time to visit a grocery or other retail store. Moreover, fewer Boomers consider shopping a relaxing experience compared to other age groups, and they are less willing to visit a brick-and-mortar store to learn about new products. Instead, nearly half of all Baby Boomers search online reviews and recommendations (52%) or visit a company’s website (46%) to research online purchases, according to the 2017 Global Online Consumer Report. More surprising, the same study found that Millennials are 50% more likely than Boomers to visit a store to research a product.

As this generation moves through the buying journey onto the conversion stage, 66% of Boomers make regular purchases through online devices, and the large majority prefer to shop online using a laptop or PC (67%) compared to a smartphone (4%) or tablet (10%). Equally important, Baby Boomers place immense value on excellent customer service; therefore, deeply engaged omnichannel communication is key to driving loyalty among these shoppers. It’s also important to note that brand popularity is favored far above personal recommendations when it comes to influencing their purchase behavior.

What Boomers Are Buying Online

The type of products that Baby Boomers are buying online is just as interesting as their online shopping habits. This group of shoppers is less likely to be influenced by price discounting, and more willing to spend more for a premium product or service compared to younger generations. In fact, Boomers spend on average $203 per transaction online.

Key categories for this group of shoppers include:

  • Pharmacy and healthcare products
  • Household goods and appliances
  • Wine
  • Books (physical and digital)
  • Cosmetics and skin care

When they do buy online, Baby Boomers are looking for a seamless buying experience, and they aren’t afraid to pay a premium for the service. Online shopping fills the niche for this age group in which convenience is the most important factor.

Marketing to Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers’ are increasingly more reliant on online shopping, and marketers have ample opportunity to reach them throughout their path to purchase. With access to the largest portion of disposable income in the country, Baby Boomers are more likely to purchase items online with a higher price point. As a result, they’re least likely to search for discounts and more likely to take risks on more expensive products. This indicates a shorter path to purchase compared to that of other generations. In addition, they place value on relationships and customer service. Therefore, creating a comprehensive omnichannel experience that brings together the best of local grocery retail shopping.  With the extensive research that works so well, digital devices can successfully attract and engage Boomers. Finally, don’t neglect the in-store experience for this generation of shoppers. While they are most likely to browse online for new products, 62% of Baby Boomers still prefer to shop in-store to see or touch the item before making a purchase.

Utilize this information to craft a strategy to target Baby Boomers with your brand’s online shopping initiatives. To succeed, keep it simple, maintain a seamless shopper experience online and in-store and adjust your strategy to meet their preferences.