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Survey: Baby Boomers and Seniors Are Shopping Online

At nearly 77 million strong, Baby Boomers (those aged 51 to 69) control more than 75 percent of U.S. wealth, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), and the U.S. Government Consumer Expenditure Survey says they’re spending more than $400 billion of that on goods and services each year—and not just in brick-and-mortar stores. The 55-plus demographic outspends younger adults 2:1 online.

In fact, a new report from Bronto Software found that 17 percent of consumers aged 50 to 64 shop online at least a week and 38 percent flex their e-commerce muscle at least once a month. Bronto, a cloud-based marketing platform, partnered with research firm Ipsos in January to survey 1,012 U.S. consumers who had shopped online within the past year.

And while only 11 percent of shoppers aged 65-plus buy something online on a weekly basis, 31 percent do so monthly. Younger adults (ages 18-39) are likely to click “buy” more often, but their monthly shopping habits are closely matched with older generations, proving that brands and retailers shouldn’t count out these “silver surfers,” which further echoes what global information and measurement company Nielsen reported last year: Older generations represent a sizeable 40 percent share of online purchase intenders.

And they’re not just shopping on their desktop computers. A recent BI Intelligence report revealed that one in four mobile shoppers in the U.S. is over the age of 55. Furthermore, Bronto found that the percentage of seniors owning tablets jumped from 35 percent to 41 percent in the past year. That’s a lot of fingers itching to spend and embracing the many ways they can do so.

“[Older] consumers are not spontaneously window shopping online stores or casually browsing product pages,” said Jim Davidson, head of research for Bronto Software. “They are utilizing multiple devices to extend their shopping experience and influence purchase decisions, creating a nonlinear ‘path to purchase’ that today’s marketers need to understand and embrace.”