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Boomers vs. Millennials [Infographic]

Posted by | Apr 29, 2015


Boomers and Millennials grew up in different eras that shaped their perspectives and values. As such, many differences exist between the generations. Knowing these differences will help marketers understand how best to reach these two groups. Boomers and Millennials respond to different motivators, issues and causes.

We’ve put together a nifty little infographic to illuminate some of the best ways of connecting with Boomers and Millennials. As you peruse these insights, take the opportunity to reflect on your messaging, personas and distribution channels to determine if you’re marketing to the right segment.

Online Activity

Unsurprisingly, Millennials are attached to the online world. They grew up side-by-side with the Internet and digital technology. Based on research findings from Trendera and Pinpoint Market Research, AdWeek concluded that Millennials spend an average of 9.3 hours per day on desktop computers, iPhones and laptops. If you take out 7 hours of the day for the average amount of time a person sleeps, that’s more than half the day Millennials are active in the digital space!

Boomers are also actively engaged online. Don’t take it from us, though. Immersion Active also reports that Boomers are adopting and developing a large online presence:

  • Adults 50+ represent the Web’s largest and fastest-growing constituency. (Jupiter Research)
  • In 2012, Baby Boomers (4765) spent 27 hours per week online, 2 hours more per week than Millennials (16 – 34) at 25 hours per week. (WSL/Strategic Retail)
  • 65% of all adult Internet users engage in social media. In 2011, baby boomers increased their usage of social media by 60%. (Pew Internet & American Life Project)

Mobile Usage

A key difference between these generations is the use of mobile. According to Radius, 60% of Millennials research through smart phones, compared to 14% of Boomers. Millennials tend to be more mobile since it is easier for them to adapt to emerging technology. In addition, Millennials are active and want readily accessible real-time data that will help them make the most out of their time. These findings reinforce the shift toward mobile -friendly content, be it through social media, email, blogging or digital advertising.

Buying Decisions

When shopping, Boomers tend to base their decisions mostly on features. Let’s use looking for a new car as an example. Boomers want to know the size of the vehicle, power of the engine, if there is a navigation system or a sun roof.

Millennials want to know the benefits and how it will make their life better. Using the car example, Millennials want to know the experiences they will have: will the vehicle seat the whole family for a comfortable road trip, will the navigation system plan my day of kiddie drop off, pick up at the dry cleaner and groceries run efficiently, does the gas mileage allow me to make less stops at the gas station and save money?

Peer Reviews

Another difference in the purchasing decision is that Millennials rely heavily on peer reviews while Boomers look to advertising and salespeople. It’s not uncommon for Millennials to post questions on social media or browse through reviews online via blogs or product pages before making a purchase. Even though Millennials value quality, price is still a major factor since this generation has less to spend. According to Goldman Sachs, the mean student loan balance for 25 year-olds in 2013 was $20,926. In 2015, that number is even greater.

Cause Marketing

Cause marketing is a huge influencer on Millennial purchasing decisions. Millennials believe that they can make an impact on the world through small and large efforts such as volunteering, spreading awareness of a cause and buying from businesses that give back to the community. In 2014, Adweek uncovered some noteworthy statistics on Millennials and their pro-social mindset:

  • 24% believe they can make a difference in their community by buying products that support social and/or environmental causes.
  • 90% of Millennials are likely to switch from one brand to another — even when price and quality are equal — if the second supports a cause.
  • 69% consider a company’s social and environmental commitment when deciding where to shop.

Businesses that fervently support a cause and engage in conversations and efforts with its supporters will reap long-lasting loyalty from Millennials.

Boomers support causes as well, but they are more inclined to make donations. From a study released in 2013, Forbes reported that Boomers contributed 43% of the $143.6 billion estimated annual contributions.

The Bottom Line

These insights show the importance of evolving with new customer demands. Whether you’re reaching out to Boomers or Millennials, you should be prepared to tailor your strategies to the buying process.

(Click to enlarge)



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