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Coronavirus May Shift Older Generations To Online Shopping

March 13, 2020 Kathy Bryan

While most Baby Boomers are online, they still lag behind younger generations when it comes to online shopping. But that may be about to change.

COVID-19 May Dramatically Alter The Buying Behaviors Of Older Generations

As fears of COVID-19 take hold, more and more people are dodging congested areas, including grocery stores and malls. But coronavirus fears don’t alter human need for food or want for material possessions. So what are people doing instead of in-store shopping? They’re increasingly going online.

The Longer The Outbreak, The More Significant The Transition To Online Shopping.Coronavirus photo from source: yougov

In China, the country with the most mature virus impact, as of March 3, 85% of people said they’re using the internet to avoid crowded public places. In the U.S., as of a week ago, 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 Mostcoronavirus chart from

COVID-19 has been shown to have greater impacts on the health of older patients. As a result, according to a late February 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 say 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 last year. 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.

Do You Want To Drive More Traffic To Your Online Store?

Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) is the leading global martech company leveraging innovative, performance-driven brand and marketplace solutions to connect consumers and advertisers. Our combined proprietary media and publishers network opportunities deliver enough impact to significantly move the needle.

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About the Author

Kathy Bryan

Kathy Bryan is the Chief Marketing Officer at Digital Media Solutions (DMS). In this role, Kathy is responsible for all aspects of marketing and communications for DMS, the largest single entry point for marketers seeking scalable and reliable, martech-enabled digital media distribution.

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