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Silver Surfers: How to Ride the Wave of Senior Online Shopping

A happy senior redeems a gated, exclusive offer on her mobile phone.

Silver Surfers: How to Ride the Wave of Senior Online Shopping

by Tony Coray
Senior Content Strategist
Posted on Aug 10, 2018 4 min read

At 109 million strong, seniors are one-third of the total U.S. population and control 70% of the nation’s disposable income.

Smart brands have seen the potential of this influential group of consumers and are already pursuing their $3.2 trillion in spending power:

  • T-Mobile launched a full-on discount for customers 55+
  • Humana promoted “Senior Skip Day” encouraging seniors to get outdoors by taking advantage of free entry to national parks.

You’d be wise to follow suit, but you may be reluctant to market to seniors online because you think they’re not digitally savvy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Previously in this blog series we’ve looked at how you can turn silver into gold if you just follow the money that seniors are spending. Now we’ll dive a little deeper into the digital habits of today’s seniors and dispel any myths about their digital naiveté.

Seniors Have the Hardware

Baby Boomers bought the first personal computers back in the 1980s and they haven’t stopped since. When it comes to getting what they need to participate in the digital world, seniors are locked and loaded.

50% of seniors buy tech products annually. 2 in 3 have laptops or desktops computers. 67% have smart phones - up 168% from 2011. 52% own a tablet.

And just as easily as they entered the digital world, they’ve enthusiastically embraced the web. Seniors have the means to get online, and they do.

Seniors Are Silver Surfers

The stereotype that seniors are intimidated by the internet is a myth that’s easily debunked when you see how much they use it. Eighty-three percent of seniors are online and they’re not just using it casually.

More than 8 million seniors are online more than 20 million hours each week. 49% of seniors are online 11 hours each week.

Seniors Are Engaging the World Through Social Media

Seniors who find themselves separated from family, childhood friends and high school buddies have embraced social media as a way to re-connect.

Seniors are one-third of all online and social media users. 72% are on Facebook. 57% use social media - up 43% from 2012.

Seniors Shop Online. A lot.

Seniors aren’t just going online to post family photos. After news and weather, they’re second favorite online activity is shopping. One-third of all online purchases are made by people over 50, and they spend nearly $7 billion online each year! And when it comes to online shopping, boomers spend more per transaction ($203) than millennials ($173) and Gen Xers ($190).

Seniors shop online. 55% make online purchases every month. 52% searched online for reviews and recommendations before purchasing. Baby Boomers (15.1) tied millenials (15.6) on the number of online transactions per year.

Seniors are Your Ideal Prospect Because They’re Purpose-Driven Internet Users

While millennials are digital natives who often take technology for granted, seniors are more like digital immigrants who have embraced the online landscape and appreciate how useful it can be as a tool for getting things done. This tendency to log on with a specific, task-oriented goal in mind, means seniors are:

  • Looking for a solution.
  • Open to advertising.
  • Receptive to your message.
  • Ready to act.

How Can You Leverage Their Digital Engagement?

One of the best ways to reach seniors is through gated offers – targeted discounts or offers available to eligible groups, such as seniors, students, teachers or the military.

Gated offers are wildly popular. Ninety-four percent of Americans who completed our consumer survey said they would take advantage of an exclusive offer, and seniors are no exception. In fact, people in the 55+ age group are particularly motivated by gated offers that recognize they belong to a special group.

Motivate seniors with an exclusive offer. 54% said it would increase their likelihood to purchase. 61% said it would make them feel rewarded. 48% would make a purchase sooner.

Use SheerID’s Digital Verification Platform to Ensure Your Senior Offer Succeeds

SheerID’s Digital Verification Platform keeps your gated offers exclusive and protects your margins by ensuring seniors are the only shoppers who can take advantage of your discount. SheerID’s age verification covers the entire US population over 50 and has an adjustable age range that allows you to target sub-groups like baby boomers or older retirees.

Gated offers are not only a great way to prevent discount abuse (which can be as high as 35% without adequate digital verification), they’re also a smart marketing strategy. Providing an exclusive offer to a group like seniors is one of the best ways to acquire new customers and keep them coming back.

Ready to Tap into the Wealth of the Senior Segment?

Learn more about how SheerID’s age verification can help you deliver compelling offers with ROAS as high as 18:1.