Boomers, Seniors Embrace Mobile for Retail

Mobile shopping is no longer the purview of Gen Y and Gen X, as boomers and seniors are increasingly incorporating mobile into their brick-and-mortar shopping behaviors. That’s according to new survey results from the Local Search Association and Thrive Analytics, published in their new “Local Mobile Trends Study.”
The survey of 1,058 smartphone users found that 69% of older boomers and seniors (defined as consumers ages 54+) use their smartphones at least on occasion to look for deals, compare prices and find reviews while shopping in stores. That’s compared to 97% of Gen Y respondents.
In terms of specific goals, 51% of older boomers and seniors said they compare prices, versus 60% of Gen Y and Gen X, 52% of younger boomers (ages 44-53), and 51% of older boomers and seniors. Some 50% of older boomers and seniors said they look for coupons or offers, compared to 56% of Gen Y, 59% of Gen X, and 52% of younger boomers.
In one interesting line of inquiry, the survey asked respondents if they ever felt guilty or try to hide their device when looking for information when shopping -- an indicator of whether they consider the behavior a routine and acceptable part of the retail experience. Here, older boomers and seniors were the least likely to say they feel guilty or hide their device, at 6%, compared to 8% of Gen Y, 10% of Gen X, and 8% of younger boomers.
Finally, 37% of older boomers and seniors said they would stop moving forward with a purchase based on information they discovered via their smartphone while shopping, compared to 65% of Gen Y, 62% of Gen X and 45% of younger boomers.

Among respondents who said they decided not to buy a product based on information discovered this way, the most common reason was finding a better price online, cited by 47% of Gen Y, 46% of Gen X and 41% of younger boomers, older boomers and seniors.

"Mobile Shopping" photo from Shutterstock.

1 comment about "Boomers, Seniors Embrace Mobile for Retail".
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  1. Christina Ricucci from Millenia 3 Communications, April 16, 2014 at 8:32 p.m.

    I'm 66 years old and I use my smartphone often in brick-and-mortar stores. I have no qualms about pulling out my device in stores to look elsewhere if I see something appealing but want to compare prices before buying, and I'm not at all hesitant to do it in front of salespersons. I'd do it a lot more if so many retail websites weren't slow or too complex to navigate quickly. I also frequently check Consumer Reports or other review sites via my smartphone when a product catches my eye where I haven't previously checked it out. I see this much more often with older shoppers, very rarely with young shoppers. I don't know whether it's because young persons have so much money that it doesn't matter how much they spend or if they're embarrassed to be seen checking prices inside the stores. Frankly, I wish more shoppers would make a point of price-shopping in full view of the sales associates; I think it sends a strong & positive message to the stores.

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