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Older Adults' eCommerce Habits in 2024

Older Adults' eCommerce Habits in 2024

Older Adults Are Increasingly Tech-Friendly

While there is some truth that older people are less tech-savvy than younger generations, adoption rates continue to climb.

According to Google, roughly 86% of online seniors spend a minimum of six hours a day online and own, on average, five electronic devices. 82% of these digital seniors use a smartphone daily. Internet use continues to decline as senior citizens age, but the decline isn’t as rapid or dramatic as most people think.

Your senior citizen eCommerce customers look much like your millennial and Gen X shoppers. When asked what they do online, 91% of older adults say they use it to stay in touch with family and friends, 87% keep track of their finances online and 73% use the internet for health and wellness. And you may be surprised to learn that 88% of adults ages 55+ watch YouTube on a weekly basis. Not surprisingly, Facebook is the most popular social media platform for seniors.

If you’ve avoided certain marketing tactics because of age and other demographic concerns, you may need to rethink your efforts to cater to the active older population in your area.

The Older Population Will Continue to Grow

If you have overlooked older adults as a demographic in the past, it may be time to adjust your eCommerce strategy in the future. The United States Census Bureau predicts that people over the age of 65 will outnumber children under the age of 18 by the year 2035. By 2030, one in five American residents will be of retirement age.

As older generations expand, so will their knowledge of technology. By 2035, people currently in their 40s will be approaching retirement age. These people include early adopters of the internet, who will have used the web for several decades by the time they retire. Even people in their 40s now who aren’t avid internet users will have almost 20 years to get on board with eCommerce.

Senior Citizens Want A Different Online Experience

Older adults taking a larger share of the online shopping market doesn’t necessarily mean the items offered by various companies will change. Instead, there will be a slow shift to adjust the buying experience to cater to these buyers.

According to Statista.com, the shopping experience varies between older and younger adults. The highlights include:

  • Older individuals tend to exercise more caution while shopping online. They often engage in thorough research and price comparisons before finalizing their purchases. Additionally, this demographic is inclined to place significant value on recommendations from their social circle, including friends and family, and frequently consult customer reviews to inform their buying decisions.
  • Older shoppers still prefer brick-and-mortar locations so they can touch and try the items before buying them, but they can switch to online shopping for staple items.
  • Senior shoppers want information up front about what they are buying. This includes tax and shipping costs, as well as any limits or important knowledge about the items.
  • Older shoppers want an easy shopping experience. When they get frustrated, they will find another channel.
  • Trust is vital in the eCommerce process for customers of all ages, but especially for older people.

Understanding these soft character traits of your older customers can help you understand why they don’t buy from you and how you can make adjustments to help them.

Match Your Web Design With Older Adult Ecommerce Habits

While older adults are more likely to use the web than you might think, they tend to operate at a slower pace than younger users. For example, they’re 40% slower on average at completing web tasks and are more likely to give up on a task that they find difficult. The blog eCommerce guide created a list of ways marketers can make their website more senior-friendly to cater to older users without infantilizing them. A few examples include:

  • Avoid small font sizes and make it easy to adjust the font sizes on your current site.
  • Make sure there is a significant contrast between website colors.
  • Simplify forms and use tools like autocomplete and autocorrect.
  • Avoid rollover items. Adults with motor problems could have difficulty keeping their mouse stable as they navigate your pages.
  • Optimize for tablets and mobile devices. Older adults are more likely to use tablets for their online usage.

Some of these tips are basic web design best practices to begin with. You don’t really have to change your strategy to accommodate older adults. Regardless of age, anyone will get annoyed and give up if your website is confusing or doesn’t work on mobile.


Create a Senior Adult eCommerce Strategy

Contact OuterBox if you want to tap into the senior citizen market and develop a marketing strategy to reach older adults. We can work with you to identify target demographics, market to baby boomers on their terms and grow your senior sales. Get in touch today to set up a free consultation and website review.


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