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The New Generation Of Silver Surfers…


Is your website doing enough to target this massively untapped demographic? Abacus Solutions has a few simple ideas that will help you reach out to the up and coming 50 plus market.

You probably aren’t aware of it, but recent research indicates that a whopping 18% of the British population are aged 50 and above- a figure which looks set to increase in future years. This being the case, there is clearly huge potential to target this ever-growing market but is e-commerce, web design and even social media really the way to do this? Certainly is! Let us explain why…

Market research shows that internet usage among the over 50 age group is actually as high as those aged 30 to 40. This surely proves that traditional stereotypes associated with age are increasingly outdated and need re-thinking- fast. Add to this the fact that the newly tech-savy older generation are proven to be using an array of devices- smart phones, iPads, tablets, e-readers- to surf the net and it is easy to understand why this is a demographic that we ignore at our peril. Polls indicate that those in the 30 and 70 age groups actually demonstrated the same attitudes to ecommerce: 75% of those in each age category felt that on-line shopping is more convenient and, in fact, 93% of the over 70s expected to use the web more in the future.

The only difference in internet usage between older and younger generations basically comes down to practice: those aged 50 and over may demonstrate less sophisticated on line behaviours purely because they began usage later, not because it suits their needs any less or through a lack of interest.

Great- we know there is a potential gap to start plugging, but how can you ensure your website is doing enough to reach that 50 plus market?
  • Consider the usability and ease of navigation of your site. The older web-surfing generation are receptive to technology but as their digital skills have been acquired later in life, these skills can lack sophistication. We are dealing with learned on-line behaviours, not intuitive ones. Ensure your site is easy to navigate and follows a common sense approach. Build an e-commerce platform that has a clear path to purchase. Let’s face it, that will benefit any on-line shopper, regardless of age!
  • Use internet profile to enhance your store experience. The 50 plus market has time that younger age groups may lack. If your website gives access to up to date instore information- prices, opening times, stock availability- that demographic is more likely to visit in-store. Remember that customer service is of paramount importance to this particular sector so ensure that your website places emphasis and value on these priorities. Combine the digital and the emotional.
  • Surprisingly, some might say, the ‘silver surfer’ is demonstrating an increased usage of social media sites including Facebook. Be aware of the fact that, when you post on a site such as Facebook, you are also reaching the older market as well as a much younger one. Think about the tone and content of your posts. What appeals to a 20 year old is unlikely to find favour with a 65 year old browser!
  • Statistically, the 50 plus market likes ‘shareability’: news, humorous insights and ‘how-tos’ that can be passed around among friends. When creating posts, blogs or emails, consider that idea of ‘shareability’- is there anything that is likely to be passed on? By doing so, you are cementing already existent consumer relationships and potentially creating new ones.
  • Finally, define your audience and do your research. ‘Silver surfers’ as a concept encompasses anyone over the age of 50 but there is clearly a huge difference between the internet usage and behaviours of a 55 year old compared to a browser in their mid 80s! This, like any other age category, is not a cohesive group. Work out who exactly you need to target and do so accordingly.
  • With just a few simple considerations, you will find that you become far more accessible and appealing to a demographic that all too often finds itself under-valued and ignored. Get ahead of the game and have a look at your website!
If you need any more help or suggestions, feel free to contact us as listed below.
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E. Barker & Son (Hillsboro) Limited
Reg. Office: 39 Burton Street, SHEFFIELD, S6 2HH
Reg No: 254789
VAT No: 172 4086 69