Conventional wisdom has long held that only the younger demographics are shopping online. As a result, e-commerce vendors have targeted their promotional efforts to those younger demographics. But a new 1156484_old_couplesurvey, Life Stages & Life Styles: Turning Generational Differences Into Media Opportunities, published by Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing and highlighted recently by Internet Retailer, indicates that big changes are taking place in the world of online shopping. Specifically, consumers over age 65 are shopping online at a higher rate (77%) than all other demographic groups.

Before consumers click the purchase button, they’re also researching products online. Here’s how that activity breaks out by age group:

  • Matures (age 65+) 65%
  • Boomers (ages 45-64) 67%
  • Gen Xers (ages 30-44) 67%
  • Millennials (18-29) 55%

While older consumers have high online research and shopping rates, currently it’s the younger consumers who are driving mobile commerce. Study analysts agree that for now, younger age groups own smart phones at higher rates than older age groups and present a target rich group for mobile commerce marketing efforts. But analysts note that smart phone adoption rates are rapidly increasing for all age groups.

The bottom line is that seniors have an average of $800 a month of discretionary income, the highest of all age groups. E-commerce vendors who want to ensure that these consumers spend money at their sites might want to adjust their marketing messages accordingly. These days that means targeting these consumers online and eventually reaching them via mobile messaging.

[Source: Seniors are most likely to shop online, report finds, Internet Retailer, 11.03.09]