US Older Generations: Online Shopping Behaviours Market Report 2021
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“Older consumers are increasingly adopting online shopping practices across categories. They are savvier than some might credit them, desiring to use ecommerce not only for health and safety but for…

US Older Generations: Online Shopping Behaviours Market Report 2021

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Report Summary

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Older Generations Online Shopping Behaviors market including the behaviors, preferences, and habits of the consumer.

COVID-19 drove older consumers to shop online more, and many (37%) are planning to continue to do so even as the virus becomes less of a threat. This is significant for brands and retailers, as it highlights the importance of digital channels to reach and engage with this consumer group. Moving forward, companies must continue to include and be aware of older audience online shopping trends and tactics such as customer support lines, simple to use search options, and easily/automatically applied deals and discounts. While COVID-19 jumpstarted ecommerce adoption for many consumers in this group, the ease and convenience of shopping online will keep them coming back for more.

On the other hand, the reopening of physical retail stores and easing of restrictions and social distancing measures will drive some older consumers back to shopping in store and away from relying on ecommerce channels. Brands and retailers will need to present omnichannel offerings to encourage consumers to continue to use ecommerce offerings in some capacity — whether it’s exploring product options, Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS), curbside pickup, or reserving an item online to review in store. Further emphasizing convenience and quick, free shipping options will entice older consumers to continue shopping online.

One of the biggest opportunities in the market is to offer seniorcentric services aimed solely at older consumers. These options could include senior-only groups or social network communities hosted by the brand, dedicated personal shoppers for older consumers and/or senior hours with staff dedicated to helping onboard older shoppers. Carving out special assistance and resources for these shoppers will help them feel supported and boost their confidence in shopping online.

Read on to discover more about the US Older Generations: Online Shopping Behaviors consumer market, read about Millennials: Online Shopping Behaviors – US – 2021, or take a look at our other Consumer Lifestages research reports.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on older generations’ online shopping behavior.
  • Older consumers’ intent to continue shopping online in the future.
  • The need for omnichannel education outlets to increase their confidence online.
  • Offering senior-only online shopping avenues and perks.

Covered in this report

Brands include: Instacart, AARP, Best Buy, Cover Girl, Dollar General, Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Facebook, Nordstrom, Kohl’s, Consumer Reports.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Katie Hansen, a leading analyst in the Retail & eCommerce sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Older consumers are increasingly adopting online shopping practices across categories. They are savvier than some might credit them, desiring to use ecommerce not only for health and safety but for convenience and an enjoyable experience as well. As a result, many will continue shopping online even as COVID-19 becomes less of a threat. Educational avenues will be a key component in helping these consumers adopt online habits and improve their overall experience. As they increase their time online, brands and retailers must cater strategies and tactics to engage with and appeal to them in an authentic way.

Katie Hansen, Retail & eCommerce Analyst
Katie Hansen

Retail & eCommerce Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
            • Economic and other assumptions
              • COVID-19: US context
              • Executive Summary

                  • Top takeaways
                    • Market overview
                      • Figure 1: Population totals, 2021
                      • Figure 2: Population by demographics, 2021
                    • Impact of COVID-19 on Older Generations
                      • Figure 3: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on Older Generations, July 2021
                    • Opportunities and challenges
                      • Privacy and data protection remain a key area of concern
                        • Utilize omnichannel avenues for education
                          • Incorporate older generations into communications and marketing materials
                          • Older Generations by the Numbers – Key Takeaways

                            • Older generations are still big shopping contenders
                              • COVID-19 hyped up their online shopping habits
                                • Emphasizing privacy protection
                                • Older Generations by the Numbers

                                  • Baby Boomers and older are prominent generations
                                    • Figure 4: Population totals, 2021
                                    • Figure 5: Population by demographics, 2021
                                  • Impact of COVID-19 on older generations
                                    • Figure 6: Shopping behaviors due to COVID-19, 2021
                                • Market Factors

                                  • Adopting budgeting tools to maximize retirement budgets
                                    • Promote tech education for ecommerce success
                                      • Increased focus on data privacy and protection
                                        • Making it easy to be a good environmental steward
                                        • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                          • Building senior support systems
                                            • Using omnichannel options for education
                                              • Tapping into knowledge sharing across generations
                                              • Competitive Strategies

                                                • Instacart’s support system helps Seniors cross bridges
                                                  • Figure 7: Instacart Senior Support Service
                                                • AARP creates online communities for senior social support
                                                  • Figure 8: AARP virtual community center
                                                • Best Buy homes in on senior services
                                                  • Figure 9: Best Buy Lively Smart services
                                              • Market Opportunities

                                                • Offer senior-specific services
                                                  • Encourage gifting and sharing across generations
                                                    • Drive education to bolster confidence
                                                    • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                      • Senior-centric channels help spur online shopping
                                                        • Knitting families together through ecommerce accounts
                                                          • Older consumers pay attention to online ads
                                                            • Making it easy to reap the discount rewards
                                                              • Focus on the basics, eliminate the hassle
                                                              • Understanding Older Generations

                                                                • Older consumers, indeed, gravitate to shopping online
                                                                  • Figure 10: Online shopping frequency, 2021
                                                                • Driving higher shopping frequency with consistent offers
                                                                  • Figure 11: Online shopping frequency, by gender, 2021
                                                                • Enrich the experience without overwhelming
                                                                  • Figure 12: Percentage of purchases made online, 2021
                                                                  • Figure 13: COVID-19 shopping behaviors, 2021
                                                                • Seeking ecommerce beyond health and safety reasons
                                                                  • Figure 14: Reasons for shopping online more, 2021
                                                                  • Figure 15: Reasons for shopping online more, by gender, 2021
                                                              • Products Purchased Online

                                                                • Older consumers are open to purchase products of all investment
                                                                  • Figure 16: Products purchased, 2021
                                                                • Making older consumers part of the conversation
                                                                  • Figure 17: Products purchased, by gender, 2021
                                                                  • Figure 18: CoverGirl and Maye Musk
                                                                • Consumers with lower overall incomes need higher levels of flexibility
                                                                  • Figure 19: Products purchased, by HHI, 2021
                                                                  • Figure 20: Dollar General highlights savings opportunities
                                                                • Incorporating omnichannel options to drive online engagement
                                                                  • Figure 21: Where products are bought, 2021
                                                                • Bundling convenience online
                                                                  • Figure 22: Where products are bought, by gender, 2021
                                                              • Retailers Shopped Online

                                                                • Teaming families together to drive online shopping
                                                                  • Figure 23: Retailers shopped, 2021
                                                                • Increasing the focus on Hispanic consumers online
                                                                  • Figure 24: Retailers shopped, by Hispanic ethnicity, 2021
                                                              • Information and Learning

                                                                • Grabbing consumers’ attention with reviews and samples
                                                                  • Figure 25: Trusted sources of information, 2021
                                                                • Frequent online shoppers use digital tools for information; less frequent rely on more traditional options
                                                                  • Figure 26: Trusted sources of information, by online shopping frequency, 2021
                                                              • Behaviors When Shopping Online

                                                                • Providing simple avenues for discounts
                                                                  • Figure 27: Actions before purchase, 2021
                                                                • Offering engagement options for women and streamlined paths for men
                                                                  • Figure 28: Actions before purchase, by gender, 2021
                                                                  • Figure 29: Kohl’s highlights beauty promotion on Facebook
                                                                • Across income levels, the desire for savings remains
                                                                  • Figure 30: Actions before purchase, by HHI, 2021
                                                              • Important Factors

                                                                • Flawless execution of the basics leads to happy shoppers
                                                                  • Figure 31: Important factors when shopping online, 2021
                                                                • Going beyond for female shoppers
                                                                  • Figure 32: Important factors when shopping online, by gender, 2021
                                                                • Product quality is at the center of it all
                                                                  • Figure 33: Important factors ranked, 2021
                                                              • Attitudes toward Online Shopping

                                                                • Seeking out relationships with older consumers
                                                                  • Figure 34: Shopping behaviors, 2021
                                                                  • Figure 35: Consumer Reports
                                                                • Providing a map for female consumers to use as guidance
                                                                  • Figure 36: Shopping behaviors, by gender, 2021
                                                                • Values matter to older consumers
                                                                  • Figure 37: Shopping behaviors, 2021
                                                                • Attract consumers with convenience; drive appeal with personalization
                                                                  • Figure 38: Shopping behaviors, 2021
                                                                • Putting consumers of all income levels in control
                                                                  • Figure 39: Shopping behaviors, by HHI, 2021
                                                                • Using social as a supplementary tool
                                                                  • Figure 40: Shopping behaviors, 2021
                                                                  • Figure 41: Nordstrom leverages Baby Boomer influencer
                                                                • Older consumers find partners in brands online
                                                                  • Figure 42: Attitudes toward online shopping, 2021
                                                                • Driving impulse with men; building trust with women
                                                                  • Figure 43: Attitudes toward online shopping, by gender, 2021
                                                                • Establishing trust and providing flexibility to engage with older Hispanic consumers
                                                                  • Figure 44: Attitudes toward online shopping, by Hispanic ethnicity, 2021
                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                • Data sources
                                                                  • Consumer survey data
                                                                    • Marketing creative
                                                                      • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                        • Abbreviations
                                                                        • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                            • Figure 45: MRI-Simmons Media consumption habits and attitudes

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