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Connecting the Dots: The Rise of Online Shopping Among Boomers

In our previous Connecting The Dots blog, we saw how the world is trying to navigate between the opportunities and concerns around AI. While there are always concerns about new technological advancements, it wouldn’t be too stereotypical to say that the older lot is more averse to change. This can be attributed to many reasons ranging from a lack of familiarity with digital innovations and fear of making mistakes to a perceived lack of relevance and psychological factors.


However, the latest GWI report sheds light on how older consumers are increasingly relying on a wider range of social media apps and e-commerce sites to meet their shopping needs.

Here are the major highlights of the report.


1. The Tilt Toward Video Content

While Facebook remains a clear favorite, the popularity of TikTok and Instagram continues to surge among baby boomers. Their growing engagement with video-based platforms is also shaping their approach to social media, which is shifting increasingly toward entertainment and brand engagement.



As far as usage is concerned, TikTok has made substantial gains among baby boomers. For instance, its usage surged by 57% among baby boomers in the second quarter of 2021, followed by Snapchat and Reddit which grew by 16% each. This can be attributed to the growing enthusiasm among baby boomers about commercial content. In the United States, the number of people who say following influencers is a top reason for using social media platforms has grown by 22% since Q2 2021.


2. Baby Boomers More Likely to Shop Online Than Gen Z

Yes, that’s right! Boomers are more likely to make new online purchases weekly, own a credit card, and have high purchasing power. However, despite the massive increase in online purchases by boomers, the advertising world doesn’t really have its focus on them. Baby boomers are least represented in adverts, which means that they may not purchase from the brands that they see advertised.



According to research by CreativeX, most ads featuring older groups appear in family or domestic settings, with less than 1% being shown in professional environments. This means that brands aren’t reaching the 24% of employed boomers who describe themselves as career-driven, the 35% of grocery-shopping boomers who say they like to explore the world, or the 31% of clothes-buying boomers who are interested in live events.


On the whole, the more represented the consumers feel, the more responsive they will be to your marketing endeavors. So, businesses have a lot to gain from tweaking their approach to include older generations in their marketing efforts.


3. Why Brands Need to Take Notice

Brands need to realize that just because Gen Z is the shiny, new, and elusive consumer, it doesn’t mean that they are the only solution to their revenue targets. Consumers who are low on savings might require a lot more cajoling to part with their money.



Brands need to think smart and not rely solely on younger consumers to meet their revenue goals. They need to make a conscious effort to engage with groups who have money now, are online, and actively shopping i.e., boomers. This is because most boomers are past their retirement age and, therefore, plan their spending much better than the younger lot, which can be somewhat reckless at times.



Thus, it’s no wonder that 43% of boomers who save tend to think that their current funds would cover their basic living expenses for over 6 months compared to only 18% of Gen Z who think so.


Brands can benefit immensely by aligning their marketing endeavors with the shopping needs of older generations.


Bottom Line

The way boomers engage with social media platforms is changing rapidly. So, brands’ approach needs to change too. Instead of focusing solely on Gen Z and millennials to meet their revenue goals, brands need to allocate ample marketing resources toward attracting the older generation.


To delve deeper into the findings of the report, download the report by clicking here.

We’ll soon be back with another GWI report where we’ll take a look at how short-from video is changing sports. Till then, stay tuned!

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