marketing to baby boomers

How Tech-Savvy Are Seniors?

We’ve all made at least a few jokes about seniors and technology. We ask children to help grandpa find Netflix on the TV. And we laugh when grandma signs her texts “Love, Nana” like we don’t know they’re from her.

These endearing examples give the impression that older adults aren’t technology savvy. And because adults 65 and older make up a large segment of healthcare’s target market, you feel the need to rely heavily on other mediums. But baby boomers and above are using technology—at the highest rates we’ve ever seen. Here, we take a closer look at the statistics of tech use among seniors.

Senior man reading online news on smartphone outdoors.

Healthcare Marketing: Aging Boomers Still the Bomb

As baby boomers grow older they will increase their importance to marketers.    

For years the emphasis of marketers have been with the 18-49 year olds. They were the ones who had increasing buying potential and had not developed strong brand loyalties. Those over 50 were believed to have decreasing incomes, reduced desire for new products and services and developed brand loyalty.  However research is indicating these ideas are becoming more mythical than reality.

Baby boomers are now moving into the older age bracket and there are larger numbers of senior citizens. In fact, within the next decade persons over 60 will reach an all-time high.  This is compared to the younger aged market that will have fewer children, thus smaller households, and smaller incomes. Older citizens have salted away money and have more money to spend while younger segments will find their incomes shrinking.

Plus, baby boomers are proving to not be so set-in-their ways.  New products and changing technology have forced baby boomers to be more open to new ideas and even expect newer and better services and products. Therefore they will be less brand loyal than previous senior citizens.

Also, media will be redefined based on the increased numbers of senior citizens.  Television, was established as the medium of the young. The wheelhouse for television has always been 18-49.  But now the medium age of viewers of prime time television is 51. And that will most likely continue to increase as the large number of baby boomers age.

This change in business and marketing dynamics was referenced in an article in Ad Age by Brian Steinberg. Quoted in the article was Alan Wurtzel, president-research and media development at NBC Universal, “While baby boomers are leaving the demographics that have been favored by advertisers for decades, their value is actually increasing.”

Its true, as health care marketers, the older demographics have always been important because people spend more on health care as they age.  But with these changing dynamics, senior citizens will be even more important.  There will be larger numbers of them, they will have more to spend and they will change loyalties.  Our planning, processes and marketing should put them clearly in our cross hairs.