(updated March, 2021)
The massive size of the Baby Boomer demographic, has caused many of the younger generations to view them as a liability. The reality is the Baby Boomer niche has proven to be an enormous asset to the online economy.
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Misconceptions of Baby Boomer Niche
Baby boomers have forced online marketers to rethink their value.
Marketers in such as financial security, at home work, senior housing, and home security segments are honing in on the Baby Boomer niche, and making handsome profits at it. We Baby boomers are not draining Social Security and demanding other generations to pay for their booming healthcare costs. We are independent and have learned to use the internet to learn and shop.
Some of use even make money online. Ignore the Baby Boomer niche at your own marketing pearl.
Even though some of the negative perceptions of baby boomers 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.”
My Own Internet Experience
I am a boomer. In fact, I am at the front of the boomer generation, being born in 1948.
Some of us who are member of the Baby Boomer niche have been using the internet from its inception. My first experice with email was UUCP store and forward technology. I work hard to patch together a network of friends with modems that allowed me to send messages to colleagues in Africa. The message speed around the globe in only two or three days. Much quicker than air-mail delivery that I was depending on.
Back in the 80s, I was so impressed about being able to sit down to my computer and using Gopher (go fer) to retrieve articles and reports from universities and organization around the globe. Gopher only searched titles and lists. Then came WAIS that searched through the entire text of documents.
I have witnessed the Internet grow to encompass the entire globe and send messages at lightning speed, or faster.
The time I, and others in the Baby Boomer niche, spend in front of a computer has increased too. It is my main communication channel and my go-to resource for shopping.
The widespread use of the web today absolutely amazes me. A State of the User Experience report from content delivery specialist Limelight Networks states that 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. You can bet most of that time was spent on the Internet.
Boomer Internet Use Makes Them an Asset
Up until a decade ago, the prime focus of marketers’ advertising strategies was directed at they younger, more tech savvy millennials and Gen Zers.
The boomer niche 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.
Where Do Baby Boomers Hang Out on 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.
It’s pretty unlikely that you’re going to reach your boomer audiences on Snapchat or Instagram. But that’s not to say that older audiences don’t love social media.
A little over eighty percent of our generation use the internet regularly. Most of us have at least one social media account. You won’t find many of us on Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, or TicTok. Marketers wanting to reach the Baby Boomer niche need to advertise where we hang out.
About 75% of all U.S. baby boomers are on Facebook, and 35% use business-focused networking sites, such as LinkedIn. While boomers refer to millennials as those folks with their noses buried in social media all the time. We, boomers are spending about one hour and forty-eight minutes per day on social media.
If you are wanting to market to us, you will have to concentrate your advertising budget on the following sites:
- 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
Baby Boomer Niche and the Pandemic
The COVID-19 virus has been deadly for many Baby Boomers. That risk has caused us to be far more reluctant to get out and about than other generations.
We, like the rest of the population, are spending more time in front of our tablets and computer monitors. We are browsing and buying. According to a recent study conducted by E-Marketer , the normally send thrift baby boomer have become more active spenders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Close to fifty percent of them have increased their spending in Internet based stores.
The consensus among large retailers it that baby boomer niche online will remain a growth niche, even post pandemic. Boomers have learned how much more convenient it is to pick up their groceries in the parking lot or have them delivered. They are not nearly as fearful as they used to be about giving credit card and bank details to online marketers.
Far from a liability to the economy, the Baby Boomer niche is lucrative.