Who's Buying All Those IPads? Boomers Become Earlier Tech Adopters Every Year

Tablet Computers: The Boomer Must-Have

Steve Jobs was born in 1955, smack in the middle of the biggest burst in the Baby Boom. Of all the articles written since his death at 56, I haven’t seen anyone point out that the products he designed were always as successful among people Jobs’ age (other Boomers like him) as with those younger than himself. In some cases, Boomers have bought more of Apple’s products than anyone else.

In preparation for next month’s Silvers Summit, we recently updated our annual tech survey on Boomer women and the consumer electronics industry. And just as in the last two years, we saw that the role of Boomers in this important industry is rapidly changing.

Of the Boomer women who gather at our site, nearly 40% said they own an iPad or other tablet computer. And the rest of them want one as a holiday gift. Such rapid adoption is nearly five times greater than general public ownership of tablets (estimated this summer by the Pew Internet Study at 8%). Such numbers remind us of several important facts about Boomers as purchasers of consumer electronics:

  • Boomers have more discretionary income to spend on non-essential consumer products.
  • Boomers are far more tech-savvy than most marketers acknowledge. They have spent most of their working lives using technology.
  • Boomers will be early adopters of technology that meets their needs. Tablet computers are ideal products for people who travel a lot, people who read a lot of books, and people who rely on email to communicate with their friends and family.

Boomers are Adopting Technology Faster and Faster

Jokes about aging consumers who don’t know how to use their cell phones should be a thing of the past. A majority has upgraded those cell phones to smartphones, and they’re using them much like younger consumers:

  • 45% of them have downloaded more than 10 apps in the last year.
  • 33% of them read QR codes on their smartphones.
  • 35% download movies from Netflix or other streaming providers.
  • 46% buy music by downloading it from a site like iTunes.

What and How Should Marketers Be Selling Consumer Electronics to Boomers?

The women who answered our survey provided some good insights for companies that market consumer electronics to Boomers:

  • Copy Apple. No company’s products were sited more often. Walk into any Apple store and you will see that everything this company does makes it Boomer-friendly. No other tech company has embraced older consumers and younger consumers together.
  • Include some Boomers in your ads for tablet computers, e-readers and downloadable services. Boomers may be generating more of your profits than any other demographic.
  • Develop the upgrades they want. The top three upgrades requested by our respondents were (1) a better/larger screen; (2) a better camera; and (3) a faster, larger keyboard.
  • Enable their ability to connect with people they care about. They are texting and Skyping their children; calling their parents; and emailing everyone else.

Steve Jobs created a company that has street cred with teenagers and lasting respect from their parents (and grandparents). The consumer electronics industry should honor this Boomer’s legacy by developing and marketing the ageless products that older consumers crave.

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1 comment about "Who's Buying All Those IPads? Boomers Become Earlier Tech Adopters Every Year ".
  1. Esther Surden from E. Surden Associates , December 16, 2011 at 9:42 p.m.
    From my blog Oct. 7 http://techandboomers.blogspot.com/2011/10/from-one-boomer-to-steve-jobs-you.html I think I mentioned here that Steve Jobs changed Boomers lives.