A previous blog established that baby boomers outspend other generations by $400 billion a year on goods and services. The statistic that is most surprising is they spend seven billion dollars a year shopping online which represents 49% of total online sales. Retailers should be tuned in so they can plan for the significant role the boomers will play in the upcoming social commerce craze which is the blending of social media with commerce. The technologically savvy boomers are highly involved in social media and do a lot of shopping on the Internet. In fact, boomers claim that the Internet is the most important source of information when making major market purchases like cars or appliances. Just like the younger generation, their top four online websites are Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and YouTube. Retailers take note – – boomers love their iPads, smartphones, emails, videos, and most importantly, they spread the news about their shopping experiences.

Baby Boomers:

  • represent 33% of the 195.3 million Internet users in U.S.
  • spend 27 hours per week online which is 2 hours more than the Millennials (age 16-34)
  • have personal email and use it regularly – 89%, age 65+
  • have broadband Internet in their homes – 72% boomers
  • own a smartphone – 36%, age 50+
  • 44% of smartphone owners age 50+ access the Internet or check email daily from their mobile device
  • 35% of current tablet users are boomers
  • engage in social networking – 27.4 million boomers
  • use Facebook – 19 million
  • shop online – 72%, age 55-63
  • shop online – 47%, age 73+
  • watch videos online – 41%, age 50-64
  • watch videos online – 27%, age 65+
  • engage in social media – 65% of all adult Internet users
  • increased their usage of social media by 60% in 2011- boomers


On behalf of retailers planning for the future, these two statistics deserve special attention. In 2050, the number of Americans age 65+ is projected to be 88.5 million, more than double the 40.2 million in 2010. And this second statistic should scream out to retailers to have a thorough knowledge of the boomers’ shopping needs – – 96% of boomers participate in word-of-mouth or viral marketing by passing product or service information on to friends. ¬†At Cash Flow Solutions, we remind our retailers to take heed and prepare, boomers have a big voice that will be heard at the POS.

Sources: Jupiter Research, WSL/Strategic Retail, Nielsen, ThirdAge, JWT Boom, Pew, Zoomerrang, AARP