Online Marketing

Fred Lebhart Posted by Fred Lebhart on January 28, 2011

eCommerce: Importance of Baby Boomers

eCommerce: The Importance of Baby Boomers

Leveraging America’s Largest Market

It has become common knowledge as of late that Baby Boomers and seniors are the most powerful consumer group, both online and off. According to the US Census, approximately 77 million people were born between 1946 and 1964, and as one American turns 50 every 7 seconds (about 12.5K per day), by 2015 nearly 45% of the entire population of the United States will be over 50 years old*.  With nearly half of the country falling into one broad demographic the buying habits of those consumers has become more important than ever before, but does this apply to Internet Marketing? The answer is a resounding YES! Numbers show that Baby Boomers have more money to spend, increasingly more time to spend it, and they are spending it online, culminating in a perfect storm.  
  • One-third of all internet users in the United States (about 195 million) are adults 50 and over, the web’s largest constituency (Jupiter Research).

  • 96% of Baby Boomers participate in word-of-mouth or viral marketing by passing product or service information on to friends (ThirdAge).

  • Adults 50 and over spend an average of $7 billion online annually (SeniorNet).

eCommerce: Human behavior first and Technology second.

The first step to capturing the Baby Boomer market online is to understand that mature adults are much more technologically savvy that past generations. They are consumers who have simply entered a new season of life, resulting in a different mindset, where having a human connection and bonding are prioritized over technology. Brands need to authentically connect with older consumers on a deeper level and with a clearer understanding of their motivations.

One of the greatest examples of “humans first, technology second” translating to sales can be seen with Apple Inc. in their tablet PC the iPad. The large form offers a bigger viewing screen and an array of “lifestyle” settings like; fatter keys, more forgiving keyboard to ease input, and shortcuts to simplify recurring tasks. It’s the intuitive, needs based marketing approach that has truly helped Apple Inc. dominate this market.

Changing your website to reflect the market

More and more we see that in baby boomer markets, rather than systematically narrowing their choices as they have in years past, boomers are adding and subtracting brands from a group based on an extended evaluation phase. After purchase they will often enter into an open-ended relationship with the brand, and then share their experience online through various networks (Deloitte estimates that by 2015 the number of mature social networkers will exceed 25 million). The best leverage in this consumer cycle is going to be the “loyalty loop”.

The Loyalty Loopthe loyalty loop - consumer buying cycle

Many marketers often put the greatest emphasis on the “Consider” and “Buy” stages of the journey, but much of the consumer process can be bypassed by humanizing your products and creating a personal bond with the consumer. The “Evaluate” and “Advocate” portions of the buying cycle is where the consumer becomes most familiar with a product, where they might build rapport with a sales person, or visualize a story through text and photos. This is where the actual interaction with the product is much less important to the consumer than their perceived relationship with it.


Baby Boomers are without doubt going to be the short term future of commerce, whether that commerce is done on a website or in a brick and mortar store. Finding inventive ways to tie into this demographic may make or break a business, so experimenting with different ideas and strategies is always a good investment.

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