According to a recent AARP study, there are several key components to getting someone into shopping on-line…the first being that they must be on-line to begin with. Older adults are currently less likely to be on-line: 6% versus 18% of younger adults. However, once they do take that step and make an on-line purchase, older Americans
are just as likely as, if not more likely than, younger buyers to make purchases via the Internet in virtually every category.
The top rated on-line buys for older Americans are in categories similar to those in which people have been accustomed to buying through direct response in the past, including mail-order catalogs and clubs. Specifically, six in ten older on-line buyers have purchased books, magazines, audio/video tapes and discs via the Internet, as compared to four in ten younger buyers. The second tier of on-line purchases is comprised of travel, apparel and computer equipment/software, with each category being purchased by approximately three in ten e-shoppers, both old and young.
The biggest hurdle to establishing an e-commerce habit among older consumers is to get them on-line in the first place. Direct response vendors, such as retail or catalog vendors with existing business from mature Americans, may be in the best position to move these shoppers on-line through partnerships with on-line-service providers and credit card companies, giving them a unique opportunity to grow their business and increase e-commerce through the senior market.