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BizReport : Ecommerce : December 04, 2013


Research: Silver surfers feel undervalued by retailers

One in three online shoppers over the age of 60 "can't imagine life without the Internet" yet, according to new research from Shoppercentric, retailers are struggling to engage with older consumers.

by Helen Leggatt

The study, "WindowOn... the new generation of older shoppers", found that despite older consumers' willingness to get online and engage with ecommerce, they feel undervalued by retailers.

Despite 62% of those aged 50 and above having Internet access at home, one in two believes that retailers don't think their age group is important. Just one in five believe retailers value older shoppers due to the amount of time and money they have at their disposal.

According to Shoppercentric's managing director, Danielle Pinnington, "older shoppers are feeling very much out in the cold - a shame given that they have a real desire to shop. There's clearly a simmering frustration of not being persuaded to spend their money".

And don't for one minute believe that older shoppers are trapped in the 'old world' of PCs. Almost 4 in 10 (39%) of those aged 60 and above own a smartphone and 21% of those between the ages of 70 and 79 have a tablet. Furthermore, over a quarter of online shoppers aged between 60 and 69 say they will shop more via mobile in the future.

Shoppercentric's research also found that most silver surfers use the Internet primarily for browsing with only a quarter going on to make a purchase online.

"Clearly there is a fundamental lack of trust and confidence in the purchase process with fears of credit card fraud and also overly technical processes that they aren't comfortable with," says Pinnington.

"Retailers must work through these issues and be aware of the range of confidence, the variation in use and acceptance of the internet amongst older shoppers. It's important that they don't ignore the opportunity that older online shoppers represent, but equally don't attempt to force older shoppers into behaviors they're not comfortable with."

Earlier this year, research in Europe by trade body IAB Europe found that European residents age 55 and over spent 39% more time online last year than they did in 2004. In particular, the Internet plays an important role in brand decisions for travel tickets (55%), electrical goods (54%), holidays (48%), and financial products (43%) among older users.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: Internet user, research, retail experience, silver surfer










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  • Creating Results "Social, Silver Surfers" research backs up this data. When we asked people over 40 to name what types of websites they frequent, 71% said shopping. That was up from 38% in 2010.

    That lack of trust Pinnington noted is the constant concern about privacy/data security, which younger web developers too often dismiss. We found that 92% (!) of older boomers (b 1946-1955) and 87% of younger boomers (b 1956-1964) said they were concerned for their security when filling out online forms.




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