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Don’t Write Off Baby Boomers’ Spending Power

Baby BoomersIt’s true that the millennial generation has surpassed baby boomers in size – and in the attention of retailers and restaurateurs. Merchants see millennials as the future and are adapting operations to this demographic’s habits and preferences. However, for some businesses, that shift away from catering to baby boomers may be premature and a costly mistake. Consider this: census projections put the U.S. population of people between the ages of 58 and 76 at 69.6 million, and since their household wealth is estimated at $70 trillion, boomers still represent a lot of spending power.

As trusted business advisors, independent software vendors (ISVs) and value-added resellers (VARs) should remind their clients that there are baby boomer sales to capture, particularly when merchants have a significant number of customers in this age group. Merchants need to keep these facts about baby boomers in mind:

Baby Boomers Use the Internet

Baby boomers not only make purchases on the internet but have also embraced digital tools available to them. During the pandemic, their online spending increased by 49 percent in 2020 alone, and baby boomers engage online in other ways:

  • 12 percent browse recreationally (the same as Gen Z)
  • 35 percent read news online daily
  • 54 percent view online videos

Encourage your clients to use this information to get in front of their customers and make offers that incentivize purchases.

Where Baby Boomers Spend Their Money

When it comes to how baby boomers use their spending power, analysts have found it doesn’t differ that much from their younger counterparts, with just a few exceptions. In 2021, the expenditure of boomers was $62,203. In the categories of entertainment and alcoholic beverages, boomers spent on par with Gen X and millennials. However, they outspend younger shoppers in transportation and apparel and services.

No Two Boomers Are Alike

Technological advancements accelerated greatly during the years that baby boomers were born. Therefore, the experiences of someone who graduated from high school in 1965 are quite different from someone who graduated in 1980. The bottom line is that it’s a mistake to think of all baby boomers in the same way. Capitalizing on baby boomers’ spending power requires giving customers choices with:

  • A variety of devices: While many baby boomers make online purchases using a PC or laptop, many others use mobile devices. Studies show that 40 percent of baby boomers use retail apps on their tablets or smartphones to buy products.

  • Omnichannel options: The tried-and-true experience of shopping in-store resonates with baby boomers who view it as an entertaining pastime. However, they also appreciate the convenience of buying online, particularly for products that are locally unavailable or difficult to find. Keep in mind, though, that baby boomers expect excellent service regardless of where they shop.

  • Different payment methods: While baby boomers are more likely to use traditional payment methods, 32 percent of baby boomers have used a mobile wallet when convenient. Additionally, about 25 percent of baby boomers were early adopters of buy now, pay later (BNPL), and half are interested in non-traditional checkout, including self-service.

Always Start with the Audience

Encourage your clients to understand their customer base and the types of experiences that will build loyalty and grow revenues before they commit to new technology implementation. A forward-thinking tech roadmap will include finding ways to delight millennial shoppers and earn their loyalty. However, it will also give baby boomers choices so they can do business in the ways they prefer.

An omnichannel payments platform is key to giving your clients the flexibility to optimize experiences for all of their customers. Contact us to learn how to provide them with the functionality they need.

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