Seniors and E-Commerce

Seniors and E-Commerce

JULY 15, 2008

Heading to the store to research online purchases

Many
studies in the US have focused on the relationship between online and
offline retail sales. Typically, consumers comparison shop and get
product information on the Internet before buying the product in a
brick-and-mortar store.

However, new data from the USC Annenberg School Center for the Digital Future examines the opposite situation: consumers ages 50 and over who have researched offline before making purchases online.


The researchers found that about two-thirds of consumers ages 50
to 69 had researched their online purchases in stores. More than
one-half of consumers ages 70 and over had done so.

"Online seniors are a lucrative consumer segment that Web
retailers cannot afford to ignore," said Jeffrey Grau, senior analyst
at eMarketer. "They have higher incomes and are more likely to be
employed than seniors overall."

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From 2006 to 2011, eMarketer estimates that the percentage of
Internet users ages 62 and older will increase at a 7.6% average annual
growth rate—more than twice the 3.1% growth rate for the entire US
Internet population.

Researching in local stores overcomes the main objection to
online shopping for all age groups: People like to see things before
buying them.

Pew Internet & American Life Project
researchers released data in February 2008 indicating that older
consumers were less enamored of retail e-commerce’s benefits than were
younger consumers. So it makes sense that many of them use a
multichannel approach to get the best possible retail experience.

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The Internet is growing in influence for all parts of retail, both
online and offline. Web-influenced sales will account for 28% of total
retail sales in 2012, up from 18.7% this year.

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