Post World War 2, the United States witnessed a massive explosion of birth rate between 1946 and 1964 during which 77 million people were born. Sociologists classified the generation which boomed during this period as ‘baby boomers’. Born in a country that was then the center of the world and amidst a manufacturing revolution, baby boomers are often associated to economic growth. They are targeted for being the largest group of affluent people in any country to fall under a particular demographic. Boomers’ shopping and spending habits, and their openness to consumer products including electronic products and services made them a target for marketers all over the world.
According to the US Consumer Expenditure Survey, baby boomers are known to surpass other generations by spending as much as $400 billion on consumer goods in a year. Their top expenditure includes consumer technology products and home computers, gadgets, plush vacations, online shopping and home improvement.
Even though older baby boomers are now retiring from their workplaces, they are not settling in snug and sluggish post-retirement senior life, rather they are keeping their commercial appeal intact. Till now, product manufacturers and service providers are heavily targeting on baby boomer demographic, especially when it comes to marketing nouveau technologies, gadgets and services.
Following are the most prominent ways how baby boomers are using technology.
How baby boomers use technology, Internet and social networking sites
1. Use of desktop and laptop computers are predominant amongst other technologies being used by baby boomers. According to Pew, 76 percent of older boomers and 81 percent younger boomers are using Internet. When it comes to using Internet, boomers prefer using their desktop and laptops over mobile devices. Two out of three baby boomers have broadband connection which they use to pursue hobbies, online shopping and research travel destinations.
2. Social networking is an integral part of Internet use of baby boomers. Potential growth of boomer demographic on social networking sites are becoming the fastest growing demographic of social networking sites; with half of the entire demographic is using social media regularly. Another study conducted by NPD Group revealed that 41 percent boomers use social networking sites including Facebook and LinkedIn regularly.
3. Though baby boomers are not seen as great fans of Smartphones, but they are not averse to these gadgets either. Baby boomers are using Smartphones for exchanging text messages, sharing pleasantries, sending and receiving e-mail. They mainly use mobile devices to exchange text messages with their children and grandchildren to get quicker responses from them than communicating through email and letters. Moreover, they are also reportedly seen to use their iPad, iPhone and other mobile devices for online news reading, listen to music, online browsing, sharing photos and of course, to use Skype.
4. Baby boomers are also known for being engaged in and relying on online banking services to carry out their financial transactions. According to Pew, boomers show greater interest in scouring financial information from the Internet than younger generations. They are using online banking services to transfer funds, keep track of credit card transactions and paying bills.
5. Baby boomers readership at online news sites is soaring. According to Pew, baby boomers’s readership at these sites is increasing as they continue using online media along with print media for reading news and features. That’s why baby boomers are reportedly becoming increasing number of consumers of e-reader devices.
6. Baby boomers are also embracing latest technologies for entertainment. Instead of old televisions, they are now spending on flat-screen televisions whether LCDs, LEDs or plasma with surround sound. According to AARP The Magazine, boomers in their 50s are spending hefty on large electronics goods and they have outspent younger adults by $1 trillion.
As per the Forrester Research, Boomers represent 25% of population that consume 40% of total dollars spent. They also spend most on technology as compared to any other section. Following image illustrates baby boomers’ prolific use of technology and internet.
As always with these many advantages, there are a few disadvantages as well. The following infographic shows vulnerabilities and risks baby boomer are exposed to while they are using technology.