Oldies embrace mobile commerce, too!

The millennial demographic, considered the tech savvy lot, is a little over-rated. More so, it has misled online retailers into believing that their focus must be primarily targeted on this group. But technology has impacted everyone and is playing a big part in the buying journey of all generations. The only variance can be seen in adoption rates and motivation that can differ by age.

**Fallacy: Mobile technology is for the tech generation

6 in 10 seniors are internet users, under half of them have a broadband connection, and nearly 70% have mobile phones or tablets. While millennials grew up with technology, these stats indicate the geriatric demographic that is usually more stubborn in adopting new tech stuff. So imagine the rest who are aren’t yet in the geriatric bracket but belonging to the more mature milestones of age. Tablets are closer to desktops and easier for them to convert to. Don’t underestimate your prospects and lose out for a lack of perspective.

[Debunk other m-commerce myths here..]

As far as tablet adoption goes, people aged 35-44 years have shown the highest levels of use during the research process. That translates into over a quarter of online researchers within this age group!

Just common sense and a basic understanding of behaviour can explain how older consumers use technology, although their shopping behaviours differ from millennials. There is plenty of data to corroborate this, although it also points out that this also makes the purchase journey more complex and fragmented as opposed to the time before the customer-empowered world sans-internet.

People aged 18-24 might spend the greatest percentage of their income online. However, remember that they have far less money to spend compared to the older generations who still account for the majority of American wealth.

Moreover, men spend equally online as much as women, because ideally they prefer shopping online rather than browsing in physical stores.

  • 23% online shoppers fall between 35 and 44 years, e. 18% of the US population. Stats show that they spend approximately $70 less annually than millennials!
  • 24% online shoppers fall between 45 and 54 years, e. under 20% of the US population.
  • 1 in 4 people over 55 years have adopted mobile commerce.

The only area where there seems to be no difference between age groups is in redeeming printed coupons at brick-and-mortar retail stores!

So while baby boomers and Generation X aren’t digital natives, don’t ignore the fact that they certainly are digital immigrants! So the only difference is that marketing strategies via the mobile medium need to be tweaked a little or adjusted to cater to their way of using mobile technology.

With Boomers, they’ve got one foot in mobile device usage and one in traditional methods. About 58% say that old-fashioned channels like television, radio, print catalogues or newspapers could have begun their search. Desktop (55%) and mobile devices (21%) can be the medium for research.

Boomers and Gen X are more reliable customers because their shopping patterns are more predictable! All one needs to do is look at the behaviour that drives different device usage and their comfort level with technology. For instance many of them are over-protective details pertaining to privacy, like location, or giving away a mobile number etc. Using that information one can design mobile marketing strategies to engage with this demographic at the right time in their purchasing journey that doesn’t make them feel wary about your brand but also makes it easy for them to use your app or website. Boomers aren’t blind to the ease and efficiency of digital channels. Online retailers and mobile marketers just need to engage them in a way that resonates with them, and they are bound to quarry this latent mine!

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