Will Boomers and Gen X keep shopping online post-pandemic?
Older consumers, forced to shop online in response to COVID-19, are expected to drive e-commerce growth in the short- to medium-term, predicts a new study from Mintel.
The study, based on a survey of 2,000 U.K. consumers taken from June 25 to July 1, found that prior to the lockdown, over-65s were the least likely age group to shop online; in May 2019, just 16 percent of those aged over 65 shopped online at least once a week, compared to 54 percent of consumers aged 25 to 34 — the most frequent online shoppers. Following lockdown, the over-65s were as likely as the average consumer to have shopped more online since the start of COVID-19 (43 percent versus 42 percent of all adults).
Besides becoming more accustomed to online purchasing, one driver of increased online purchases among over-65s is heightened concern over infection. Fifty-six percent of over-65s were worried or extremely worried about being exposed to the virus, versus 40 percent of 16-to 24-year-olds.
Another driver cited was less vulnerability to unemployment. Thirty-eight percent of 16-to 34-year-olds indicated they were cutting back on non-essential expenses, compared to 31 percent over-65s.
In June, eMarketer in a similar manner raised its 2020 forecasts to 5.8 percent growth in the number of digital buyers 45 and older, up from 3.2 percent previously. EMarketer wrote in a statement, “Because older adults are more likely to develop serious complications from the coronavirus, it’s unsurprising that they are taking extra precautions and utilizing more online and contactless shopping options.”
Longer term, however, an FMI survey showed that only 10 percent of Baby Boomers would buy more groceries online once the pandemic is over. That compares to 35 percent for Generation X, 40 percent for Millennials and 34 percent for Generation Z.
- Signed, Sealed And Delivered: UK Courier And Express Delivery Services Set To Record Fastest Annual Growth For Five Years – Mintel
- Covid-19: Elderly consumers set to drive eCommerce market post-crisis – Essential Retail
- We Expect 7.4 Million New Digital Buyers in 2020 as Pandemic Alters Behaviors – eMarketer
- Transparency Trends: Omnichannel Grocery Shopping from the Consumer Perspective – FMI
- Rabobank: Online grocery sales could go up 6% by 2021 – Meat + Poultry
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What’s the likelihood that the majority of older consumers will largely return to their old purchasing habits once the crisis is over? What will it take to retain older consumers as online shoppers vs. younger consumers?