Boomers are a Golden Opportunity to Grow Online Sales

Posted: December 4, 2023
Category: Spotlight on Business

Retailers often make assumptions about consumer behavior that may not necessarily be true. When it comes to technology, a popular belief concerning baby boomers is this generation is reluctant to learn new concepts and typically prefer to shop in-store. Additionally, with the intense focus on Millennials, the buying power of Gen X shoppers is also frequently overlooked. These could be reasons why some small-to-medium sized establishments are slow to fully embrace using digital platforms as sales vehicles or establishing a robust e-commerce presence.

Owners who use the theory that older generations primarily shop in physical stores and account for a significant percentage of their overall sales, may concentrate solely on the in-store customer experience rather than developing a comprehensive sales strategy that also incorporates the online journey. While it’s true more than half of consumers like shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, that leaves almost 50 percent of consumers shopping online. The results of a 2021 Pew Research Center Study indicate:

  • Eighty-five percent of respondents go online one or more times per day

Thirty-one percent are constantly online

  • Seven percent of adults never go online

Shoppers are Using Smartphones
Statistics indicate that one in four people who shop on mobile devices is over the age of 55, and 24 percent of adults ages 45-54 are online shoppers. Whereas millennials (aged 18-34) spend $2,000 annually online, more money than any other group; Gen X shoppers (35-44) spend about $1.930.
This is essential information for home improvement retailers who may wonder if ecommerce is a smart investment that offers their current and potential customers a convenient option to shop their business.

  • Forty percent of online shopping in the U.S. is done using a smartphone
  • Smartphone use for online orders increased 36 percent from 2020 to 2021

Sixty percent of ecommerce transactions are made on tablets, desktop computers, and laptops

Promote E-commerce to Customers
Since its clear a significant segment of home improvement customers shop online, it’s surprising that many independent retailers make little effort to promote their ecommerce business. Customers may be unaware they can go online and order products online 24/7 and have merchandise delivered to the store for pickup. Communication is key to a successful ecommerce business. Why should you make the effort to grow online sales?

  • E-commerce sales are expected to reach $5.5 trillion globally in 2022
  • About 76 percent of U.S. adults shop online
  • Smartphones are becoming the preference for online orders

Additionally, e-commerce revenue in the U.S. reached $431 billion in 2020, a 20 percent increase from 2019. It’s difficult to predict how rapidly sales will grow. Statista anticipates sales in 2022 will exceed $500 billion and top $563.4 billion by 2025.

Consumers Prefer Having Options
Consumers want their shopping experience to be convenient, easy and hassle-free. Online shopping keeps growing because people don’t need to leave the comfort of home to buy products or services. In a 2018 Marist Poll, participants highlighted a few reasons why they prefer purchasing online.

  • 64 percent of respondents liked having the ability to shop anytime
  • 62 percent of those surveyed say they can find items easily online
  • 61 percent feel shopping online saves time

Additionally, a BigCommerce and PayPal consumer spending report conducted in 2021 shows people have no clear preference as to where they buy. Almost 55 percent of the people who responded enjoy shopping in person, and 12 percent didn’t care one way or the other.

Catering to Older Shoppers Can Grow Sales
Retailers can be so focused on promoting products to millennials, they fail to leverage the buying power of older adults. Missing this sales opportunity can prove to be costly in the long term. According to market research firm NPD Group’s Checkout Tracking, People 65 and older spent an average of almost $187 per month online last year, up 60% from a year earlier. While this is less than the   average $238 per month spent by the total population, this age group is the fastest-growing segment of online shoppers. Gen X (ages 35-44) is the biggest group of online spenders. On average, the spent $306 per month—up 40 percent since 2020.

Independent Retailers know it’s crucial to understand what their customers want and need. Shopping habits have drastically changed in recent years, and older consumers are rapidly adapting to the new reality. Similar to younger generations, they are buying online. Retailers who make the journey seamless and continue to offer high levels of service will be those who benefit from the patronage of boomer and Gen X consumers.