Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

Boomers Feel Increasingly Comfortable Online: Research Indications

June 15th, 2010 by

AARP has published its recent survey on Boomers (conducted by GFK). According to this survey only 40% of adults age 50 and over consider themselves extremely (17%) or very (23%) comfortable using the Internet. That implies that about 60% of them feel uncomfortable for some degree and that they are still trying to figure out the web.

Is that really so?

According to Pew Internet 7o percent of those aged 50 to 64 use the Internet.  The drop in internet use is found for the 65+ group (38%). Therefore, the skewed internet perception was probably made by the merging of the two age groups.

{AARP, GFK: If you wish to track technological trends among the older generation – you must be aware of the differences between its inner groups. I believe that the two age groups (46-64 age group commonly defined as Boomers and the 65-75 defined as Matured) are largely distinctive by their online behavior}

What can be learned on Boomers?

Recent Pew Internet surveys reveal that about two-thirds (66%) of those 50-65 positively perceive the internet as a change “for the better” (only 18% say it has been a change for the worse). Moreover, Among adults 50-65: 56% have home broadband connection, 46% have accessed the internet wirelessly, and 9% are already using Twitter or another status update system.

eMarketer (January 2010) has dedicated a report on Online Boomers.   According to the findings they present – Boomers feel very comfortable online:

  • Deloitte 2009 survey brings evidence to the large increase in Social Networking among Boomers and Matures:

46 percent of Boomers (up from 31% in year 2008), and 14 percent of Matures (up from 36% in year 2008) maintain a profile on a social networking site like Facebook, MySpace or LinkedIn (compared to 77 percent of Millennials, 61 percent of Gen Xers)

  • Boomers are testing other social media as well, including Twitter, blogs and review sites, but have yet to adopt them (Only 10% of online boomers were Twittering in September 2009)
  • eMarketer also points to the fact that 49% of Boomers claim that their purchase decision was influenced by an online review or recommendation on a retailer’s site.

When you search for a potential market growth – I would definitely check out the Boomers. They are feeling more and more comfortable online!

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7 Responses

  1. Erin Read Ruddick Says:

    So glad to see your reminder to AARP & GFK that over 50 is not one big generational cohort.

    In fact, it contains more than 3 – younger Boomers (aka Generation Jones, typically defined as born between 1956-1964), older Baby Boomers (1946-1955), Silent Generation (some say born 1925-1943, others say 1928-1945) and Greatest or GI Generation.

    Pew’s recent report on Millennials does a good job with distinctions. And they share great insights into not just online behavior and technology use but the attitudes of the different generations towards our wired world.

    That report is at http://pewresearch.org/millennials/ – A good read for those marketing to Baby Boomers and beyond.

  2. gobigfishgo (Bigfish) Says:

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    RT @TrendsSpotting Boomers Feel Increasingly Comfortable Online: Research Indications [link to post] #social media

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  3. markwschaefer (Mark Schaefer) Says:

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    Boomers, Seniors Feel Increasingly Comfortable Online: Research Indications [link to post]

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  4. framingthedot (Dr Scott Davidson) Says:

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    RT @markwschaefer: Boomers, Seniors Feel Increasingly Comfortable Online: Research Indications [link to post]

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  5. LeeEar (Lee) Says:

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    RT @TrendsSpotting Boomers Feel Increasingly Comfortable Online: Research Indications [link to post]

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  6. JackieTEwing (Jackie Thorpe Ewing) Says:

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    Boomers Feel Increasingly Comfortable Online. [link to post] – good numbers to know. marketers make good use of these!

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  7. nj solar power Says:

    There are some interesting points on this article but I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. There is some validity however I’ll take maintain an opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we would like more! Added to FeedBurner as well.

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