A Look at Boomers’ Digital Buying Trends

Research highlights how the pandemic and market factors in recent years have driven Baby Boomers to shop online more and try new brands, as well as how digital tools are impacting buying decisions.
Jacqueline Barba
Digital Editor
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Rain the Growth Agency, an independent DTC advertising agency, in December published new research exploring online shopping behaviors and buying trends from the affluent Baby Boomer demographic.

As market factors in recent years have driven Boomers to shop online more and try new brands and products, the trend is expected to continue for nearly half of Boomers, according to a media release about the research from the agency.

The research looks at which social media platforms, apps and other digital tools are impacting buying decisions. It also highlights opportunities for brands looking to diversify their targeting to include the Baby Boomer audience, which Rain the Growth says represents more than $2.6 trillion in buying power.

Some key findings from the “Boomers Digital Shopping Trends” report include:

  • Boomers primarily use digital tools (e.g., Amazon, search, retailer and brand websites, product reviews, mobile apps) to make shopping easier (47%) and to save money (45%) and time (40%).
  • Of Boomer social media users, Meta’s Facebook and YouTube are the primary platforms used (78% and 63% usage rates, respectively), followed by Etsy and Pinterest.
  • Younger, tech-savvy Boomers (ages 55-64) are more open to advertising, are active on social media (typically using a smartphone, and don’t shy away from video streaming services (77%).
  • Younger Boomers’ favored channels include: TV (37%), direct mail (33%), print magazines (25%), billboards (25%), online (23%) and radio (22%).
  • Search is the shopping gateway for seniors reinforcing the importance of investments in paid search.
  • 26% of seniors say that social media has inspired purchases from never-before considered brands and products.

"Like other generational cohorts, marketers should understand that there are many subgroups within Baby Boomers and understanding their intricacies can drive highly effective creative, media and marketing strategy,” Dan Gallagher, executive vice president, brand strategy + research, Rain the Growth Agency, said in the release.

In previous research, Rain the Growth identified three discrete segments within the Boomer population: Nostalgic Conservatives, Seniors Living Simply and Progressive, Knowledgeable Nesters, which is expanded in its new report to include comparisons based on their digital behaviors.

Research in the report was sourced from proprietary Rain the Growth Agency MindReader studies, YouGov, Claritas, Stylus, Pew Research Center and AARP.