Over 72% of ThirdAgers – baby boomers and mid-lifers generally in their early 40s through mid 60s -Â access the internet via broadband in their homes, significantly more than the national average across all age groups, according to the first online research study conducted by ThirdAge Inc. and JWT BOOM under their newly formed strategic partnership.
According to the survey, the three top reasons that ThirdAgers spend time on the internet are to seek out information (92%), stay in touch with friends and family (95%) and to shop online (73%), says Lori Bitter, Senior Partner at JWT BOOM. Over 82% of all respondents are researching or reading information online on health and wellness for themselves and for their families.
Other common activities include general browsing of the web (95%), reading articles (91%) and researching products before purchasing offline (86%). What they’re not doing is watching videos, writing blogs, playing games or downloading music.
Boomers and mid-lifers are sharing their thoughts, opinions and research with friends in numbers that should make any marketer interested in viral and word-of-mouth stand up and pay attention: Over 96% share information and details about new discoveries with their family, 84% with their children, 83% with their spouses and 71% among their coworkers.
Research results also suggest that marketers would do well to understand the value of an integrated media plans when marketing to ThirdAgers: 92% visit an online website after they’ve read about it in a print article; 89% typically visit a website after seeing a print ad; and 83% visit a site after seeing a television ad.
“ThirdAgers…are regularly stereotyped as being technophobes and slow to jump on the technology bandwagon,” says Sharon Whiteley, CEO of ThirdAge. “However, our study shows that not only are they online, they’re surprisingly a formidable presence on the internet.”
The online survey of some 1,210 adults 40+ years of age was designed to help marketers understand the current interests, preferences and habits of Boomers and their use of online media.
Close to 108 million people in the U.S. are over the age of 45, comprising over 40% of the population and accounting for the majority of the buying power: 70% of the U.S. net worth, controlling $9 trillion. In the next 15 years, the 50-64 age popular will grow 50%, and the 65-plus population will grow 32%; the 18-40 Gen-X and Gen-Y populations will grow only 3% combined.
Top-Line Findings Summary:
- 82% are using a desktop computer to connect online; 17% are using laptops
- 73% are using broadband to access the internet from home – higher than the national average across all age groups
- Boomers’ top interests regarding internet use:
- E-mail 99%
- Browsing the web 95%
- General research (background info) 92%
- Reading online articles 91%
- Staying in touch with family/friends 90%
- Product research before offline purchase 85%
- Online shopping 73%
- 82% are using the internet to seek information around Health & Wellness, while only 69% get Health & Wellness information from doctors and medical professionals
- Boomers participate as much or more in viral or word-of-mouth marketing as younger age groups. Very or somewhat likely to share product information or news with:
- Friends 96%
- Children 84%
- Spouses/Partners 83%
- Coworkers 71%
- Parents 60%
Offline and Online Marketing
- 79% would respond to promotional emails about products and services
- 92% have read about a website in a print article (magazine, newspaper) and then visited online
- 89% have seen a print ad and later visited the online site
- 83% have seen a website advertised on television and later visited it online
- 65% will visit a website address after hearing it on a radio commercial