Baby Boomers Are Mobile Too

baby boomersBaby Boomers and Above Respond to Text Messages

(as in Mobile Devices not Walkers)

Too many times retailers discount Baby Boomers in their mobile strategy. The Holy Grail seems to be Millenials. And while Millenials do have purchase power and are tech-savvy, Baby Boomers have the disposable income and the resources to buy goods and services – not to mention they are far more tech savvy than we give them credit. A case in point, my mother.

My mother is 78 years old. She has been retired for 15 years. In the last 15 years she has embraced technology like a 14-year-old with a new iPhone. Every conversation begins with the latest gadget or app she’s either researching or purchased. Thankfully she has unlimited text messaging on her plan because she burns through them like water at a four-alarm fire. In addition to Facebook, texting is her go-to app to stay in contact with everyone – her bridge friends, knitting group, grandchildren, and the White House when she has bone to pick with Congress. In addition, she shops online, researches large purchases online, and has numerous retail apps on her mobile device that she regularly checks for information and offers.

Then there’s my next door neighbor. She’s 58 years old. Like my mother, she enjoys using technology to stay connected with family and friends. In addition, she schedules appointments; receives alerts when purchases are ready for pick-up; and regularly scans, clicks and bumps QR codes, short URLs and beacons for the latest deals. As an enthusiastic shopper (or as the Millenials would say, “she has swag”), she uses her mobile device for everything. And, she is quick to complain when she receives a coupon in the mail from her favorite clothing retailer (who will remain unnamed) “why didn’t they send this to me on my phone? That way I’ll have it next time I go into the store.” She is the person cited when referring to people who leave their paper offers in the glove box of their car or on the kitchen counter.

While both of these examples are anecdotal, following are some facts to hopefully spur retailers to think twice before they claim their “more mature” customers aren’t mobile.

  • 80% of Baby Boomers use the Internet regularly (source: Pew Research)
  • Top two Internet activities are researching products (80%) and buying goods (75%) (source: Pew Research)
  • Baby boomers spend 27 hours per week online, 2 hours more per week than Millennials (source: WSL/Strategic Retail)
  • Baby Boomers make up 44% of the population and control 70% of U.S. disposable income (source: Nielsen/BoomAgers)
  • Baby Boomers spend more time on the web than any other media channel, including TV (source: eMarketer)
  • Baby Boomers outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods and services (source: U.S. Government)
  • Boomers outspend younger adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis (source: Forrester Research)