Baby Boomers still hold a significant portion of purchase power in the US. Approximately 1 in 6 Americans is considered a Baby Boomer and this generation maintains more than half of the household wealth in the US. So, what do brands need to know about this generation of consumers? A recent report [download page] from GWI provides some insight.
Brand Qualities Boomers Look For
For the most part, all generations are seeking the same qualities from brands, although with some disparities. While reliability is important to a majority of all respondents, this quality is particularly important to Boomers. Some 55% of surveyed US internet users ages 16-57 want a brand to be reliable, compared to three-quarters (74%) of Boomers. Older respondents also value authenticity over other generations (54% of Boomers vs. 43% of those ages 16-57).
While Boomers also look for brands that are innovative and smart (42% and 38%, respectively), only 18% say they are interested in brands that are trendy or cool.
Of course, it’s more than just product selection that makes brands attractive – brand actions are also essential to Boomers. These older adults want brands to be eco-friendly, and socially responsible (46% each). That said, the top motivator that would inspire Boomers to promote their favorite brand online is that it has high-quality products.
Discovering and Researching Brands
Per the report, Boomers are considerably more likely than younger generations (41% vs. 31%) to discover brands through TV ads, which lines up with prior research that shows that the largest share of traditional TV viewers are 55 and older. Alongside TV ads, Boomers also discover new brands through search engines (37%) and word-of-mouth (37%), as well as in-store product displays or promotions (26%) and online retail websites (25%).
When researching products online, Boomers turn to search engines (59%), reviews (42%), product websites (40%) and price comparison websites (35%). Only about one-quarter (26%) conduct product research on social networks.
Mobile Use and Online Privacy
Data from Pew Research Institute shows that 6 in 10 adults over the age of 65 own a smartphone, while GWI reveals that more than half (53%) of internet using Boomers say their mobile is most important to them for accessing the internet. And, when it comes to apps, this older generation is using apps related to email (64%), shopping (62%), weather (55%) and news (52%).
The report also shows that Boomers are more likely than younger internet users to worry about how companies use their personal data online (41% vs. 33%). And, while close to half (47%) say they regularly clear their browsing history and cache, fewer than one-quarter (22%) are using ad-blockers. Of those who do use ad-blockers, most are using them because there are too many ads (67%), ads get in the way (58%) and because ads aren’t relevant to them (49%). By comparison, fewer (36%) are using ad blockers in order to stop companies from collecting data about them.
You can read the full GWI report here.
About the Data: Findings are based on survey results from 13,875 Baby Boomers aged 58-64 and 167,192 internet users aged 16-57.