For the past 30 years it has been traditional wisdom that Seniors (and now Baby Boomers) would not adopt or be a force in new technology. WRONG!
Whether it was the adoption and use of the PC, cell phone, Internet, search, social media or mobile apps – the Boomers were dismissed as technology laggards. However, these same Boomers are the ones who have started or are managing companies who developed these technologies. The Boomers have changed the way we work, live, play, socialize, make decisions and ultimately have influenced which companies succeed through the use and development of new technology.
The “Boomers Don’t Use Social Media” Myth
The latest statement I heard was “the Boomers don’t get or use social media” even though they represent the largest online group. Boomers spend more time online than any other demographic. According to Pew Internet & American Life Project, much of that time is spent shopping and buying online. They also spend more money online per month than Generation X (ages 35-46) and Millennials (ages 18-34).
eMarketer, a respected research company in digital marketing, media and commerce, estimates that:
- 78% of Baby Boomers are online
- 86.9% of Boomers will have a mobile phone
- 17 million Boomers will access the Internet from a mobile browser or installed app
- 40% of all Boomer mobile users will use mobile apps by 2015
As I have spoken at conferences in the last year, I have noticed that Boomers are becoming more connected through social media. However, I continually find myself meeting with business owners and executives who continue to espouse that their targeted Boomer market “doesn’t do social media”.
I admit that the Boomers may not be the first out of the gate on the newest technology to hit the market, but it is a huge mistake to think they won’t adopt newer technology and applications if it really has sustainable value.
Niche Social Media Communities Booming
Niche social media communities are springing up to cater to different communities of interest, including the Boomers. The key for any business or organization that caters or markets to the Baby Boomers will be to strengthen their business relationships with their Boomer market, and to do it soon. Once this market makes a decision that works for them, it is difficult to get them to change.
The key to strengthening these relationships is to keep Boomers engaged through compelling user experiences where they gain access to other’s experiences, deals and unique content.