It’s fair to say that millennials are often the focus area for most businesses when innovating. The hype this week around the launch of Pokémon Go is a great example of how retailers can make use of digital innovation like gamification to capture the attention of this digitally native audience. However, millennials are not the only demographic which businesses should be focusing on.

There has been lots of recent evidence to suggest that, actually, there is huge potential amongst older generations which isn’t being capitalised on enough by marketers.

The latest Office for National Statistics data revealed that internet use among the over 65s has increased sharply in recent years. The number of 55-64 year olds who recently used the internet increased by 12% between 2011 and 2015, from 74% to 86%, while a rise of almost 20% was seen among 65-74 year olds, from 52% to 71%.

It’s also clear there is a growing preference towards online shopping; a report by Bigcommerce found 41% of Baby Boomers and 28% of seniors prefer online to offline shopping.

Older generations are spending more time online and are increasingly engaged with social media, with over 50s spending approximately 27 hours per week online and one in five Twitter users over 50. The aftermath of the recession has resulted in millennials becoming increasingly cash-strapped.

Older generations often have equity in their homes and generous retirement incomes, have more disposable time, and money, to spend on the internet, with the Futures Company’s Global Monitor research revealing 60% of consumers over 50 have purchased a product or service online.

Despite all this evidence, only around 10 per cent of the UK’s marketing budget currently focuses on this lucrative age group. Webloyalty’s own research among over 55s in the Netherlands revealed there is real opportunity for marketers to engage with this key older demographic. So, how can marketers adapt their strategies to maximise this potential?

1. Embrace omni-channel

Whilst millennials are accustomed to pureplays like ASOS and Amazon, Webloyalty’s research found that older consumers are more comfortable with online stores that are founded in bricks and mortar. This presents great potential for omni-channel offerings to target this segment of the market and leverage the heritage of the shops which started on the high street.

2. Make payments easy

Payment convenience is important to the older generation; Webloyalty’s research found that three quarters of respondents will avoid websites that do not offer simple payment processes. The payment process should be easy; e-tailers must make it straightforward so that the older, more cautious shopper is reassured.

3. The power of peer-to-peer

Webloyalty’s research found that 91% of silver surfers will make use of reviews in their decision making. Marketers must be aware of how influential reviews are and make sure they provide great customer service which mitigates the risk of bad reviews.

4. Don’t forget the human touch

34% of those surveyed see the lack of personal contact as a barrier to online shopping. This clearly shows how important it is to make the contact points with the business clear and provide a personalised customer experience.

5. Consider the design

According to Webloyalty’s research, most silver surfers browse and purchase through a laptop and only a quarter use their mobile phones. Digital marketers need to make sure their websites enable ease of use across all platforms; whether mobile, tablet or laptop.

It’s a well-known fact that populations around the world are ageing. By 2050, it is estimated there will be more people aged over 65 in the world than children under the age of 14. I urge digital marketers to make use of this compelling insight to develop a clear strategy to convert the cash-rich, silver shopper generation.


By Guy Chiswick, Managing Director, Webloyalty Northern Europe


GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help marketers to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. Further information and conference details are available at http://www.gdprsummit.london/


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