Seniors Switching To Online Shopping


Although Generation Z and millennials have clearly altered their online habits during the era of Covid-19, the same can now be said for boomers and seniors. There has been a clear shopping shift for the younger purveyors of online goods, but baby boomers are following in their footsteps. Even seniors are swapping the lure of the mall for the convenience of the online marketplace.

It is no great surprise than Generation Z and millennials are doing this, of course. Millennials are in their prime spending years, while the actions of Generation Z predict how the marketplace is going to look in the next decade or so. Of course, both these generations grew up accustomed to using digital technology on a daily basis, so there is no huge learning curve needed.

Baby boomers hold about 56% of the household wealth in the United States, so it is surprising there is not as much interest in their shopping habits as in those of their younger counterparts. This age group is on average over 65 years old, meaning they are some of the ones most in danger from Covid-19. This is when the fatality rate hovers around 20%.

Recent surveys have discovered that both seniors and boomers are adapting to online shopping more than ever before. Until a vaccine is created, this trend will likely continue.

A Look At The Numbers

Nearly 60% of boomers and seniors claim coronavirus has not changed the way they shop. Other demographics also report no changes in their shopping habits, although a slightly lower percentage. The other 40% of boomers and seniors report they have made changes. Just over 1 in 5 said they intend to continue shopping in this way regardless of what happens with the pandemic. Just over 1 in 10 said they only changed during the pandemic and will return to their old habits once it is over.

All ages listed fear of dying, fear of infection and fear of passing the virus to someone else as their worst three worries during Covid-19. They believe digital shopping is extremely important during this pandemic. Older shoppers feel especially strongly, with 47% of seniors and boomers claiming to choose merchants based on their digital capabilities during the pandemic, compared to only 41.5% of Generation X and less than 39% of millennials.

The older consumers who have made the switch, buying groceries and other items online, are more worried about catching Covid-19 than their younger counterparts. This is why the option of digital shopping is so critical to this group, with many claiming it is ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important that merchants offer online options.

Although nobody can say for sure how long the pandemic is going to last, boomers and seniors appear to be the most pessimistic. More than half report they cannot see their lives returning to normal for at least 6 more months, while about 1 in 10 said life will never be the same again.

In conclusion, a lot of older consumers have shifted from conventional shopping to the online equivalent. At first this was because they had no other option, but now many seem to prefer this way of shopping.