In my last blog post, I explained that Baby Boomer women aren’t just gradual adopters of new technology; in some important categories they are actually leading the way.
We’ll be hearing a lot about this topic at the Silvers Summit, the conference on an aging society and technology, at CES (the giant annual consumer electronics show) in a few weeks. Vibrant Nation recently released the results of a survey we conducted with our friends at Silvers Summit on “Boomer Women 50+ and Technology.”
The biggest surprises in our research told us that in certain consumer electronic categories, Boomer women are buying up to 5 times as many products as anyone else.
Tablet Computers: The new Boomer Must-Have
In particular, the tablet computer has become the Boomer woman’s must-have. Nearly 40% of the Boomer women who visit our site reported owning an iPad or other tablet computer, and the ones who don’t ALL want one. This device has rapidly become THE essential tech toy for consumers over 50.
Such rapid adoption is nearly five times greater than general public ownership of tablets (estimated this summer by the Pew Internet Study at 8%).
Who do you think is buying all those e-readers?
Some publishing industry insiders estimate that women 50+ are responsible for more than half of all book purchases in the U.S. That would explain why women in this demographic were the earliest and most important adopters of e-readers. They read books, they travel, and they are more comfortable with technology than the market assumes.
When you look at it from this perspective, the Kindle and the Nook (like the iPad) were built for the Boomer women. 33% of them bought a Kindle, Nook or other e-reader in the last 12 months. If they own an e-reader, it’s most likely to be a Kindle; 66% of those women chose Kindles.
While others continue to question whether Boomer women are really participating in these categories, the two dominant market players – Apple and Amazon – get it. While their ads aren’t targeted directly to the women who are buying so many of their products, those ads tend to avoid any age-specificity, and they speak to the broader goals and interests that the aging consumer shares with her younger friends: the desire to connect with others, to read and learn, and to understand the world around her.
Companies that continue to make this vibrant Boomer consumer understand how their consumer products can enhance her life will continue to win her business.