Baby boomer generation fastest-growing group in digital world, research says

Two researchers from Istanbul Bilgi University conduct in-depth interviews with individuals aged 55-65 to examine digital trends of boomers
Handan Kazanci – January 25, 2022

ISTANBUL (Anadolu) – Despite the common belief, the baby boomer generation is the fastest-growing group in the digital world, according to a recent study by a Turkish university.

Istanbul Bilgi University revealed on Monday research conducted with individuals aged 55-65 to examine the digital trends of the baby boom generation, known as the people born between 1946 and 1964, and their approach to social media influencership.

Two researchers from the university’s Communication Faculty Ayse Bengi Ozcelik and Eser Levi, conducted in-depth interviews with individuals and their article was published in a book titled “Paradigm Shifts within the Communication World,” the university said in a statement.

According to the researchers, although it is believed that online tools are used mainly by young people, older people are the fastest-growing group in the digital world.

In the last ten years, Pew Research Center said in a study published in 2019, the rate of acceleration in social media use was highest among older age groups: from 20% to 69% for those aged 50–64, and from 5% to 40% for those aged 65 and over.

Noting that the baby boom generation is now a consumer segment that needs to be taken into account in the digital world, Ozcelik and Levi pointed out that brands leave this generation out of the game in their digital communication strategies.

Citing Ozcelik, the statement said: “The spread of online shopping in the baby boom generation, especially after the COVID-19 period, has brought this audience to the forefront, which has not been prioritized until now.”

“For this reason, we wanted to investigate what they think, with the foresight that their presence in the digital world is not well understood, and we reported the results by conducting in-depth interviews with individuals between the ages of 55-65,” she added.

Media usage habits of boomers have changed

Noting that people over the age of 60 are now active on Instagram as well as on Facebook, Ozcelik said that the opportunity to compare prices in internet shopping and the chance to find cheaper products brings this age group closer to the digital world.

According to Ozcelik, the results of their analysis of boomers’ perceptions of social media influencers showed that they expect expertise, experience, authenticity, and similarity to trust an influencer.

The statement also cited Levi, who recalled a report titled Social Trends Will Light the Way” by Hootesuite, which she said was published just before their study was conducted.

“The report describes the failure of digital marketers to target the baby boom generation as an unfortunate consequence of age bias,” Levi added. “It suggests that this generation, whose field of action is gradually expanding towards digital, should be considered as a separate consumer segment by brands.”

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