boomer internet use

Boomer Internet Use Will Surprise You

Due to the large number of Baby Boomers many of the upcoming generations see them as a liability.  The boomer demographic has forced other generations to rethink economic security, work, housing, and communities for older people. Boomer are draining Social Security and demanding other generations to pay for their booming healthcare costs.  Even though these perceptions are true, other generations are overlooking the the money-making possibilities of marketing to boomers. “For the private sector and entrepreneurs, serving the needs of over 100 million people is an opportunity,” says Jody Holtzman, AARP’s senior vice president of thought leadership. “There needs to be more conversation about the opportunity instead of the costs of older people.”

I am a boomer.  In fact, I am at the front of the boomer generation being born in 1948.  I have been using the internet from its inception. I was in on Gopher, WAIS and the internet’s other predecessors.  Yet, the widespread use of the web today absolutely amazes me.  The 2015 State of the User Experience report from content delivery specialist Limelight Networks time spent online in the past year has dramatically increased, with 45 percent of respondents spending more than 15 hours a week on their laptop, tablet or phone.

Boomer Internet Use Makes Them an Asset

Boomers internet use amazes me even more.  I thought I was in the high use minority of my generation in use of the web.

boomer internet useInformation on products and marketing techniques to Millennials can be found virtually anywhere, but very little toward the Boomer market.  That has not always been the case.  In fact up until a decade ago, the prime focus of marketers’ advertising strategies was directed at Boomers.  The marketers are now overshadowing them in favor of paying more attention to the newer, younger, and more technologically-savvy generations like Millennials and Gen Zers.  A recent Nielsen study documents that less than five percent of advertising budgets are put toward Baby Boomers nowadays.

Is shift of marketing emphasis justified?  Well, not my the numbers, it is not.    The fact is boomer internet use is a major segment of the Internet use pie.  Fifty-one percent (51%) of Baby boomers are online at least 15 hours a week.  Whereas among Millennials (18-33 year olds) only 41 percent are online that much.

Boomer internet use is not just for research, genealogy and looking up old friends.  They are the largest segment of online shoppers.  In fact, four out of five retailers attribute nearly 50% of their sales to boomers. Adults over 50 years of age spend an average of, wait for it, $7 billion online annually.

Boomer Use of the Internet

Here are some of the most revealing stats about boomer internet use.  Bear in mind they make up only one-third of the US population.

  • 41 percent of Facebook users are Boomers.  In fact, the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is baby boomer women.
  • 48 percent of Twitter users are Boomers
  • 53 percent of Pinterest users are Boomers

Boomers are far from a liability.