April 11, 2011

Digital Demo Dollars

Age is More Than a Number

It's alarming when someone claims the online world is for “the kids”. It's often someone who is more immersed in digital than they even realize. They have email, a cell phone and a Facebook profile. But they claim that the email and phone are for work and the social web is to connect with friends.

We don't need ten social profiles to capture the power of the digital landscape. In fact, that is often when people get distracted by the tools and get away from the entire we reason we connect in the first place.

eMarketer just released a telling survey featuring how baby boomers interact on the web.

The report covers U.S. numbers only but you could make the safe estimate that the percentages for most developing countries where Internet penetration is more than 50% of the population are similar. And with over 76% of North Americans having online access, it's clear it's not just "the kids". How can that affect your revenue line?

The Report Explains 
"Boomers' lives are going in many different directions, as empty-nesters, step-parents, grandparents and caregivers. For all of these roles, the Internet and digital media are absolutely essential. eMarketer estimates 78.2% of this cohort is online, nearly 60 million adults. Even as their numbers decline, that penetration rate will remain high through 2015. And they control more than $2 trillion in annual spending."

We can discuss connections and relationships but companies won't invest their time and resources on an altruistic gesture void of potential revenue. Relationships are crucial but wallets are as well. But it is clear that online spending from all demos continues to increase.

More from eMarketer Report on Boomers
"Boomers spend more time and money online than any other demographic. Younger boomers (ages 47 to 55) spent an average of 39.3 hours online per month in 2010, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Older boomers (ages 56 to 65) averaged only slightly less, at 36.5 hours. A lot of that time was spent shopping -- and buying. Forrester Research reported that boomers spent an average of about $650 online over a three-month period in 2010, compared with $581 by Generation X internet users (ages 35 to 46) and $429 by Millennials (ages 18 to 34).

Boomers also stay connected on the go. eMarketer estimates 86.9% will have a mobile phone this year, and 16.9 million boomers will access the internet from a mobile browser or installed app. In 2015, that number will reach 25.4 million, or nearly 40% of boomer mobile users. This is a market that content providers, game publishers and brand marketers should not pass by."


It's often said that most people dislike being marketed to which is clearly not supported by their behavior. We will buy into something if it resonates with us and since most – if not all – purchases are conducted on some emotional level, doesn't it make sense that we don’t stop buying at a certain age? 

eMarketer's Lisa Phillips summation
"Boomers are immediately turned off by association with old age, infirmity and decline. Most brands do not want to 'age' their products with blatant appeals to older consumers. The win-win is to create an overarching brand message that gives a nod to boomers, but also includes younger adults and even grandchildren."

If your target customers are in the older demos and you are not utilizing digital and mobile channels, is it safe to say you may be leaving revenue on the keyboard?

Kneale Mann

image credit: silicon
source: emarketer
© Kneale Mann knealemann@gmail.com people + priority = profit
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