Boomers Biggest Online Spenders

November 8, 2011

This article is included in these additional categories:

Boomers & Older | Mobile Phone | Retail & E-Commerce | Technology | Television | Youth & Gen X

forrester-research-inc-2011.jpg“Older Boomers” (age 56-66) spend the most online of all generations, according to a Forrester Research report released in November 2011. Data from “The State of Consumers and Technology: Benchmark 2011, US” indicates that older boomers have spent an average of $367 online in the 3 months preceding the report, more than double the amount spent online ($138) by “Gen Z” adults (age 18-22) in that time period. “Younger Boomers” (age 46-55) are the next biggest spenders ($318), closely followed by “Gen Y” adults (age 23-31), who spent an average of $311. Overall, 72% of US online adults purchased products and services online, spending an average of $292 over the 3-month period.

The top products bought online by all age demographics were apparel/clothing and accessories, purchased by 38% of Gen Z adults and 37% of Gen Y adults.

Gen Y Owns Most Connected Devices

Gen Y adults, who comprise 19% of the US online population, are the most likely to own multiple connected devices: more than two-thirds of these adults own more than one connected device, including roughly one-third who own three or more. However, Gen Z adults own an average of 2 connected devices, slightly ahead of the Gen Y (1.9) segment. The “Golden Generation” (ages 67+) and younger boomers are not far behind in device ownership, boasting almost as many (1.5) connected devices on average as “Gen X” adults, aged 32-45 (1.6). The report defines connected devices as any type of desktop computer, laptop computer, netbook, tablet, or smartphone.

Demos Differ on Device Adoption

Gen Y adults are the most likely to pioneer the use of newer devices, leading all generations in the adoption of tablets, internet-connected TVs, 3D TVs, and Blu-ray Disc players. They are also the most likely to own a smartphone (58%), ahead of Gen X (49%) and Gen Z (47%) adults. Meanwhile, although the golden generation lags significantly in smartphone adoption (9%), these consumers display higher ownership of traditional technologies such as desktop computers and printers.

Connected Youth Step Outside

According to the report, a high proportion of the younger demographics go online using a computer outside of their homes: 83% of Gen Z adults report doing so, followed by 81% of Gen Y adults and 73% of Gen X adults. By contrast, less than half of the older boomer generation and roughly one-quarter of the golden generation connects to the internet outside the home.

Work, School Most Popular Connected Locations

Roughly two-thirds of Gen Z adults go online using a computer at school, while 44% stay connected at a friend or relative’s house. Work (66%) is by far the most common location for Gen Y adults to go online outside the house, followed by a friend or relative’s house (31%) and school (20%). Just 18% of adults aged 18-45 say they go online using a computer at a hotel.

AT Kearney: Mature Consumers Use Tech

Mature consumers around the globe are using technology at high rates, according to a A.T. Kearney Global Maturing Consumer Study released in September 2011. Data from the study indicates 87% of global consumers age 60-64 use a mobile phone, as do 74% of those 65-79 and 50% of those 80 and older. Mature usage rates for internet and internet shopping are not quite as high but still show some solid penetration among the 60 and older set. For example, 68% of consumers age 60-64 use the internet, although this figure drops to 46% for consumers 65-79 and 19% for consumers 80 and up. Out of online mature consumers, 49% of those 60-64 shop online, as do 41% of those 65-79 and 29% of those 80 and older.

About the Data: The Forrester data is based on an online survey fielded in July 2011 of 64,515 US and Canadian online adults ages 18 to 88.

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