With today’s dizzying rate of technological advance, it’s easy to let yourself believe that the “older” market aren’t keeping up.
Nothing could be further from the truth, and we can prove it.
Start by recognizing that three different age cohorts are represented in the Zoomer (45-plus) population:
- The oldest slice of Generation X (age 45-52)
- All Baby Boomers (age 52-72)
- The rest of the population over age 72
Of these three groups, both Gen X and Boomers are totally comfortable with the new technologies. The Boomers were never technophobes; at every stage of their lives, they were grabbing all the new technology they could get their hands on. Gen X, as well, grew up in a world of fast-changing technology and have always been quick to adopt the latest. There may be a slightly slower rate of adoption among the very oldest age groups, but taken in total, the Zoomers represent the biggest users of technology and purchasers of new tech products.
This reality is quickly demonstrated, using Vividata 2017 Q2 as our source.
- 15.2 million Zoomers accessed the Internet yesterday, or 94% of all Zoomers. This compares to 9.4 million Millennials, or 92.2% of that age group.
- 9.7 million Zoomers spend from 1 to 4 hours a day on the Internet, compared to 4.4 million Millennials.
- Even when we push Internet viewing time to an extreme – more than 4 hours a day – and Millennials finally come out on top, it’s by a very narrow margin. 4.2 million Millennials spend that much time online compared to 3.6 million Zoomers.
- 10.8 million Zoomers made an online purchase in the past 12 months, compared to 7.1 million Millennials.
- 11.4 million Zoomers own a tablet, compared to 7 million Millennials, while 3.9 million own an e-reader (compared to 2.1 million Millennials) and 11.6 million own a smartphone (compared to 9 million Millennials). The point here isn’t the size of the margin – there are more Zoomers to begin with, so it’s not necessarily surprising they’d outnumber Millennials on ownership of a particular device. The point is that Zoomers are – emphatically – embracing and using technology.
This is reflected in their attitudes as well as their purchasing.
- 53% of Millennials, or 5.4 million people, agree with the statement, “I feel I need to check social media sites every day.” You’d expect the percentage would be lower for Zoomers, and it is. But not as low as you might guess: 39% agree with the statement, or 6.4 million people.
- 46% of Millennials, or 4.7 million people, agree with the statement, “I couldn’t live without my mobile phone.” Again, the number drops off for Zoomers, but it’s still a surprisingly high 35%, or 5.7 million people – a million more than the Millennials. That’s a huge market of Zoomers reliant on their mobile phones.
- Zoomers are active seekers of online information that will help them make purchasing decisions. While 65% of Millennials, or 6.6 million people, agree with the statement, “I often refer to the Internet before making new purchases” – no surprise there – the Zoomer percentage is 57%, or 9.3 million people. Are marketers taking this online information-seeking into account?
- Zoomers and Millennials are also neck-and-neck in valuing the convenience of online shopping. 34%, or 3.4 million people, of Millennials agree that “online shopping makes my life easier.” For Zoomers, it’s 30%, or 4.9 million people.
The idea that Zoomers are not keeping with technology is a complete myth. They see and understand what’s happening, they’re quick to purchase the hardware and they’re very aware of how to use the technology to their advantage. Marketers who don’t “get” this – and especially, those who are patronizing toward Zoomers (a common complaint from Zoomers themselves) – are forfeiting an enormous audience, and misusing a potent sales-generating channel.