Study: Mobile-Savvy Boomers The Norm, Not Exception
The Stamford-based online market research firm surveyed more than 2000 mobile users and separated them into four age groups: Gen Y (18-24), Gen X (25-44), younger Baby Boomers (45-54) and older Baby Boomers (55-64).
Not surprisingly, mobile penetration was high across all ages, at 85% and 82% for Gens Y and X, respectively--meanwhile, 80% of younger Boomers surveyed had a mobile phone, followed closely by older Boomers at 79%.
Boomers' handsets were just as cutting edge as their younger counterparts, as 75% of younger Boomers and 68% of older Boomers had phones that supported text messaging--compared to 86% and 82% of Gens Y and X, respectively. Gen Y led the pack in actual text-message usage with 43%, followed by Gen X with 22%--but some 16% of all younger Boomers and 10% of all older Boomers sent or received text messages daily.
According to Joy Liuzzo, director of mobile research at InsightExpress, although "older" is an elusive term, the Boomer generation is starting to see the benefits of text messaging. "They realize that sending a text message is quick, they can check in with someone, make sure everything is alright and it's done. No need for a phone call," said Liuzzo.
As more Boomers come to view text messaging as a convenience that makes communication faster and easier--adoption rates (and potential for mobile marketers) will grow, she adds.
"Think of a pharmaceutical company with a product that's supposed to be taken once a month," said Liuzzo. "Users could create an account on the company's Web site and register for an SMS reminder."
Advertisers budgeting for mobile Web campaigns have the opportunity to get in front of customers of all ages, for while about half of Gen X-ers (51%) and Gen Y-ers (47%) had phones with mobile Web access, the Boomer generation wasn't too far behind--some 39% of younger Boomers and 32% of older Boomers could surf the Web on their handset.
Actual usage of mobile browsers still has a ways to go, however--with less than 10% usage across every age bracket. Of those mobile Internet users, some 40% of Gen Y could recall seeing an ad, while 25% of older users (Gen X, younger and older Boomers) did.