‘Pre-boomers’ embracing online shopping

Petrina Berry
(Australian Associated Press)

 

“Pre-boomers” – the parents of baby boomers – are set to become the fastest-growing group of online shoppers, new research has found.

A report by the Commonwealth Bank says pre-boomers – who are aged 70 or older – are embracing online, with internet shopping by the group projected to increase by 18 per cent in the year ahead.

Commonwealth Bank retail industry national manager Jerry Macey says while Gen Y still dominates the internet marketplace, their grandparents will be responsible for the fastest growth in online sales to any one age group.

“The older generations will be a strong driver of online sales growth in the coming year, with purchases from pre-boomers expected to grow at twice the rate of the average Australian shopper, albeit from a low base,” Mr Macey said.

Gen Ys, aged 22 to 35 years old, account for 34 per cent of all online purchases but their share of online shopping is set to grow just five per cent over the next year.

Pre-boomers, however, are expected to account for nearly 15 per cent of online purchases – an 18 per cent increase, and up from 12 per cent a year ago.

The Retail Insights report, based on a survey of about 1,500 Australian consumers and a second survey of about 500 retailers, also found that around one in five purchases by more-affluent baby boomers is expected to be online.

Online purchases via a mobile device are forecast to grow three times as quickly among baby boomers – who are aged 51 to 70 – over the next 12 months as those mobile purchases by Gen Y.

Retailers and consumers said they expect online and mobile sales will grow significantly in the months ahead, with retailers forecasting a 24 per cent lift in volume over the next year, the majority coming from people shopping via a smartphone.

If the expectation is proven correct, online transactions will account for almost one in three purchases by July, 2018.

Despite this growth, the vast majority of shoppers still prefer to buy in-store (59 per cent) rather than online (16 per cent), the surveys found.

“Shoppers still want to touch and feel items before they buy, look for better prices online or just aren’t ready to purchase on the spot,” Mr Macey said.

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