Ready for some surprising facts about today’s empty-nesters?
These findings, from Influence Central’s new research study in collaboration with Vibrant Nation, revealed startling new insights about this generation’s ease with online technology and social media. While empty-nesters did not grow up surrounded by electronics as Millennials did – unless you count electric typewriters – they’ve embraced the challenge and now navigate freely throughout the online world.
Turning away from traditional media
Marketers mistakenly still think of empty-nesters as the news show generation – women inspired by primetime TV spots – and still immersed in traditional media such as newspapers and magazines. Yet our survey of more than 600 women, 45 and up, reveals a vastly different reality. Nearly 70 percent of empty-nesters feel skeptical about traditional ads, with 60 percent tuning them out entirely because they don’t feel they’re accurately targeted.
Moreover, empty-nesters say traditional media no longer impacts their purchasing decisions, with only 15 percent more likely to purchase a product when it’s showcased on a favorite TV or talk show. Just 12 percent are more likely to purchase a product when it’s used in a compelling ad.
In search of online recommendations
So what does move the purchasing needle with this generation? Overwhelmingly, empty-nesters look to word-of-mouth and personal recommendations to sway their purchase path. More than 95 percent say they seek out online product reviews for feedback and first-person recommendations before they make a spend.
In addition, 80 percent of empty-nesters consider first-person recommendations online before making a purchase, and 79 percent are more likely to purchase a product if it receives a high star rating on a retail e-commerce site. Finally, 56 percent of empty-nesters say a negative online review would cause them not to visit a store or restaurant.
Moving the purchasing needle
Beyond purchase path influences, empty-nesters have even moved their consumer purchases online – with 85 percent shopping online for convenience and 64 percent making e-commerce spends from their tablets. And 44 percent of empty-nesters download coupons from their Smartphone.
The challenge for marketers
As empty-nesters demonstrate their online fluency, brands need to recalibrate their marketing strategies to reflect empty-nesters’ immersion in the online and digital world. Brands need to develop forward-thinking strategies that map to how empty-nesters act as consumers – from their adoption of the online recommendation culture to their embrace of mobile technology to their reliance on e-commerce.
Today’s empty-nesters remain strong, confident, and adventurous consumers, and brands using outdated approaches to reach them will risk losing their trust – and their purchasing dollars.
Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Influence Central, is a social media strategist, attorney, and best-selling author. A frequent national and international speaker, she consults with brands on consumer and social media trends. You can reach her at [email protected].