Baby Boomers - Shopping habits and trends

The baby boomer generation describes those born between 1946 and 1964, named after the rise in births followed by the end of World War II. Belonging to the “over 50” age group, baby boomers are often underestimated for ecommerce - a huge mistake considering that they are loyal customers that have the greatest amount of disposable income among all generations. However, it is their shopping and purchasing habits that differentiates them from younger generations.

Meet the baby boomer generation

The baby boomer generation is the second-largest age group after their children, the millennials. The majority of baby boomers are in the pre-retirement stage of life: 40% of are still working, 12% are self-employed and 35% are retired. They have been more health-conscious than their parents and aim to maintain healthy and active lifestyles. Having currently the greatest amount of disposable income among all generations baby boomers have the greatest spending power of all generational groups - and are therefore an essential force in the consumer economy. Following research, they spend more than the average customer in almost all consumer categories.

Baby boomers are generally more tech-savvy than many marketers think. The temptation is often high to follow a traditional bias in marketing to “cut-off” a consumer group once they reach a certain age and focus solely on new and younger groups. However, with some of them still remembering the introduction of the first televisions, they have witnessed countless technological developments throughout their lives - and they use them differently than younger generations.

Another aspect that sets this generation apart from others is their good grip on their finances. Even though they set themselves fewer budgets, they generally aim to avoid debts - and therefore track and calculate their spendings more than other generations. Accordingly, they respond less to time-urgency strategies in marketing campaigns - they know there will be more sales days and opportunities coming up.

What do baby boomers want?

The main characteristics baby boomers show let us assume the following trends for shopping:

  • Quality and excellent customer services. This generation favours retailers selling high quality products and providing quality customer service.
  • Personalized marketing approaches. Boomers are the “me”- generation - They want and value personalized communication and customized advertisements.
  • Convenience first. All this generation wants are products and services that make their lives simpler. They generally pay more attention to the quality and value behind brands and products and less to prices.

How to successfully target baby boomers with your marketing

Traditional and niche advertisements

Studies show that unlike younger generations, baby boomers are still influenced by traditional marketing campaigns and sales strategies. More and more of them are active on social networks and use the internet for shopping and researching products. However, older baby boomers still read - and even prefer - traditional marketing communications in forms of direct mail such as newsletters, postcards and flyers. In general, baby boomers place more trust in print advertising than online ads. Therefore, placing ads in newspapers and magazines is a good way to reach this demographic. Also niche magazines such as Globe or National Enquirer should be taken into consideration as baby boomers tend to be active and loyal readers of these kinds of publications.

Build popularity via various channels

Being present on various channels is the best way to reach this generation, whether it be online, computer commercials, television or traditional print. Even though they use social networks, they do not consider these platforms as relevant for discovering new brands. When buying new or unfamiliar products, baby boomers are generally more likely to have their interest sparked by the popularity of a brand. Consistent omnichannel engagement and advertising across various channels therefore are the way to go in order to reach this generation.

Reach them via emails

Baby boomers are more likely to respond to direct email campaigns than other generations. Surveys identified direct mailing as a key influencer among them, ahead of word-of-mouth and customer reviews - 3 out of 10 survey respondents indicated that they had been influenced by email to make a purchase over the last 6 months. Solutions like MultiSafepay’s Second Chance emails can help you to reach this demographic and decrease shopping cart abandonment in your shop.

Offer card payments

The baby boomer generation prefers traditional payment methods. Studies show that only 12% of them have adapted digital payment methods, which has in contrast found to be almost double among Gen X (21%). While for the younger generations quick and easy 1-click payment methods via digital wallets are the way to go, baby boomers prefer cash over cards over digital solutions - 43% indicate that they prefer using debit cards.

Multisafepay offers a mix of over 30 payment methods, including the most commonly used debit and credit cards that will help you to serve the baby boomer generation.

To sum up

In contrast to the common and popular belief among marketers, the baby boomer generation is indeed engaged across various social networks and marketing channels. However, as every generation has its own individual beliefs and behaviours, targeting baby boomers successfully involves some specific extras - such as keeping their affinity for more traditional marketing campaigns and payment methods in mind. Baby boomers want to connect with brands on a personal level - Get personal and show that a brand that understands their consumers is a brand that deserves enduring loyalty.

With 20 years of experience in ecommerce and a whole range of payment solutions and tools, MultiSafepay can help you to adapt to the demands of this consumer generation.

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