While most Baby Boomers are online, they previously lagged behind younger generations when it came to online shopping. But that changed in 2020.
COVID-19 Dramatically Altered The Buying Behaviors Of Older Generations
As fears of COVID-19 took hold, more and more people dodged congested areas, including grocery stores and malls. But coronavirus fears didn't alter human need for food or want for material possessions. So what did people do instead of in-store shopping? They went online.
The Longer The Outbreak, The More Significant The Transition To Online Shopping
In China, the country with the most mature virus impact, as of March 3, 2020, 85% of people said they were using the internet to avoid crowded public places. The same week in the U.S., only 27% of respondents had made the transition to online shopping. With more and more large events and gatherings being halted or postponed every day, the share of Americans avoiding public places is anticipated to grow.
Older Generations Are Predicted To Avoid Stores The Most
COVID-19 has been shown to have greater impacts on the health of older patients. As a result, according to a late February 2020 survey, older generations stated they’re more likely to leverage the internet to avoid stores if the coronavirus outbreak worsens. In fact, 86% of people over the age of 61 said they will transition their shopping online to avoid shopping centers and malls.
The Coronavirus-Triggered Shift To Online Shopping May Be Long Lasting
While 78% of consumers ages 18-34 were considered “digital buyers” in 2019, only 50% of Americans ages 55-64 made online purchases during 2019. Adults 65 and over were not surveyed, but the share of online shoppers was likely comparable or lower to their slightly younger peers. With coronavirus fears now forcing their hand, Baby Boomers are about to take a giant leap into the online shopping world. Ecommerce sites that support Baby Boomer shopping needs and facilitate their wants, including providing customer service that mirrors what they’d expect in brick-and-mortar stores, are likely to reap long-term loyalty from Baby Boomers.
COVID-19 is disrupting the world in ways few could imagine. But people have needs even when things get tough. Brands that help facilitate normal life during uncertain times can come out ahead in the long run.
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