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‘Silver Surfers’ Provide Rise In Ecommerce

A ‘silver surfer’ is a term that many of you might have heard of, and refers to the expanding population of over 50’s who are using the Internet. As world health continues to improve, the length for which we live will continue to rise. Combine this with increasingly tech-savvy people and you have a market that is set to continue along the upwards trend line. These figures have been collected by the European Internet Advertising Agency, a group set up to promote and support the European digital marketing agencies, and included the replies and browsing habits of tens of thousands of over-50s from all across Europe. Here are some of the choice stats:

– Over 30% regularly shop on the Internet (more than once a week)

– They spend an average of 8.8 hours per week shopping online, compared to only 1.5 walking round the high street

– The over 50s market consistently shop more than the under 25s, outstripping them 3 to 2

– Although they enjoy shopping online, they are far less tolerant of aggressive advertising, with over 70% saying it puts them off a site completely

– US figures show that the over-50s online market is worth more than $9 trillion every year

How To Attract Them
This new research solidifies figures that many people had been suspecting for several years, and includes amazing statistics on the younger generation. Although many marketing campaigns are aimed at the 15-25 or 25-35 year old markets, they would be much better spent on older shoppers. The 25-35 year old segment is actually the least responsive to marketing and online shopping, despite being nicknamed the ‘ilifers’, having grown up with technology. So how do you attract this new, more mature market? Here are some best practice tips:

– Tone down the advertising. As mentioned above, the EIAA study shows that over 70% of the ‘silver surfer’ generation are completely put off by pop-ups and other aggressive advertising.  Whether it’s because of confusion and making them suspicious it should be avoided at all costs

– Whilst the younger generations are much more discerning with the sites they choose, and like flash animations, sliders etc, older generations like sites nice and simple. Keep animations to a minimum, text large and navigation nice and simple

– Avoid sign-ups and registrations to keep things as simple as possible. Whilst younger people may break though barriers like this, the study shows that it puts off older generations much more

– SEO. It may be obvious, but make sure your site is nice and visible, and appears for as many terms as possible. This, however, applies across the board, whether your customers are 18 or 80


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