Social Media is it Really for Baby Boomers

by Blair Evan Ball on August 5, 2014

Social Media Silver SurfersAre you a baby boomer?

Do you know someone who is a baby boomer?

Are you trying to market to boomers?

It’s a young person’s game, this social media stuff — right?

Social media use is just as strong for those in the 50-64 age bracket with boomers increasing their presence on Facebook alone by 80% between 2011 and the first half of this year, revealed a 2014 survey from iStrategyLabs, a Washington-based digital communications agency. Last year, 43% of boomers said they used at least one social networking site, up from 26% in 2010, according to Pew.

Some may be asking exactly what is a BABY BOOMER? Millenials probably don’t know, and even a baby boomer might not know exactly.

  • “10,000 Baby Boomers a day will turn 65 – every single day between now and the year 2030.” Paul Taylor – Author, The Next America

Baby boomers are people born during the demographic Post–World War II baby boom between the years 1946 and 1964. 

During the baby boomer years, 1946-1964 (inclusive), 75.8million Americans were born. The ratio of males to females has stayed relatively constant. There were approximately 1.05 male births for every one female birth.

The biggest year of the boom was 1957, when 4.3 million boomers were born.

Boomers today represent 28% of the U.S. population. But in 1964, they represented about 40% of the population. In other words, in 1964 more than a third of the population was under 19 years old! No wonder the baby boomers attracted so much attention.

Boomers yield enormous clout. In fact, the Web’s largest constituency, making up more than 30% of the United States web users.  Adults over the age of 50 are the Internet’s fastest-growing group. Social Media is a hugh part of the Internet, and social media marketing to boomers is exploding.

eMarketer-Boomers Social Media


  • The first baby boomer turned 65 on January 1, 2011.
  • An American turns 50 every 7 seconds—that’s more than 12,500 people every day (U.S. Census).
  • The first baby boomer turned 65 on January 1, 2011.
  • An American turns 50 every 7 seconds—that’s more than 12,500 people every day (U.S. Census).
  • By 2015, those aged 50 and older will represent 45% of the U.S. population (AARP).


  •  The 55+ age group controls more than three-fourths of America’s wealth (ICSC).
  • Boomers and seniors have seen a decrease in their median family net worth, however they still have a net worth 3x that younger generations (Economic Policy Institute).
  • Boomers’ median household income is 55% greater than post-Boomers and 61% more than pre-Boomers. They have an average annual disposable income of $24,000 (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).

The 50+ have $2.4 trillion in annual income, which accounts for 42% of all after-tax income (U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey).

Adults 50 and older own 65% of the aggregate net worth of all U.S. households (U.S. Consumer Expenditure Survey).


  • Baby Boomers outspend other generations by an estimated $400 billion each year on consumer goods & services (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  • In 2009, spending by the 116 million U.S. consumers age 50 and older was $2.9 trillion, up 45% in the past 10 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
  • Baby Boomers account for nearly $230 billion, or 55%, of consumer packaged goods sales (Nielsen).
  • Boomers outspend younger adults online 2:1 on a per-capita basis (Forrester Research).
  • Americans over 55 spend 50% of all vacation dollars in America (ICSC).
  • 55-64 year old outspend the average consumer in nearly every category, including: food away from home, household furnishings, entertainment, personal care, and gifts (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).
  • Women over 50 spend $21 Billion on clothes annually (US Government Consumer Expenditure Survey).

Baby boomers take great pride in the appearance of their homes as 27% have had landscaping done in the past year and they are 21% more likely than all American adults to have spent $10,000 or more on home improvement in the past year (Scarborough).

The NAHB predicts that the aging in place remodeling market to be $20-$25 billion. That’s about 10% of the $214 billion home improvement industry.

96% of baby boomers participate in word-of-mouth or viral marketing by passing product or service information on to friends (ThirdAge and JWT Boom).


  • One-third of the 195.3 million internet users in the U.S., adults aged 50+ represent the Web’s largest constituency (Jupiter Research).
  • Two-thirds of Americans 50+ buy from e-retailers online (Pew).
  • In 2012, baby boomers (47-65) spend 27 hours per week online, 2 hours more per week then Millennials (16-34) at 25 hours per week (WSL/Strategic Retail).
  • 89% of seniors 65+ have personal email and use it regularly (Nielsen).
  • 44% of smartphone owners age 50+ access the Internet or check email daily from their device (Pew).
  • Adults 45+ account for 34.7% of current tablet users (comScore TabLens).
  • 27.4 million people age 55 and over engaged in social networking with nearly 19 million of those people using Facebook (comScore).
  • Adults 50+ spend an average of $7 billion online annually (SeniorNet).
  • The Internet is the most important source of information for baby boomers when they make major market purchases, such as automobiles or appliances (Zoomerang).
  • 42% of all travel industry purchases happen online, and adults 50+ account for 80% of all luxury travel spending (Pew Internet and American Life Project).
  • 82% of adults aged 50+ who use the Internet research health and wellness information online (Pew Internet and American Life Project).
  • The top four online websites for people over 60 are Google, Facebook, Yahoo and YouTube (AARP).
  • 65% of all adult Internet users engage in social media. In 2011, baby boomers increased their usage of social media by 60% (WSL/Strategic Retail).

Social Networking sites by Age


  • 43.5 million family caregivers care for someone 50+ (Alzheimer’s Association).
  • 72% of caregivers gather health information online (Pew).
  • Boomers caring for aging parents spend 150 minutes per person each month viewing 1,010 pages of content – 70% more than the average user (United Healthcare, National Alliance for Caregiving).
  • 37% of caregivers have children or grandchildren under 18 living with them (National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP).


  • In the next ten years, U.S. baby boomers will increase their annual spending on wellness-based services from approximately $200M to $1 trillion (Paul Zane Pilzer, The Next Trillion).
  • Americans 55+ are the fastest-growing age group among gym members, up more than 266% since 1987 (IBISWorld).
  • 82% of adults aged 50+ who use the Internet research health and wellness information online (Pew and American Life Project).
  • Throughout 2012, more than half of U.S. online consumers used fitness electronics, and more then one-third planned on buying a health-related gadget in 2013 (CEA).


Forget the myths floating around about baby boomers’ lack of savoir faire and stubborn reluctance when it comes to embracing mobile phone and social media.

They’re just as tech wired – if not more – than their millennial counterparts if various pieces of industry data are indications.

Then there’s the technology revolution. Today’s young are history’s first generation of digital natives. The online world isn’t something they’ve had to adapt to — it’s all they’ve ever known, and it’s their indispensable platform for social interactions and information acquisition.

Today’s old have been playing catch-up online, some more enthusiastically than others, but they have a long way to go. The typical Millennial who uses social media has 250 Facebook friends — making them five times “friendlier” than the smaller number of Silents who use social media.

Social Media Sites by Year


A new study by iStrategy Labs shows a complete turnaround in the age of users the world’s biggest social network is attracting.

From January 2011 through the beginning of this year:

  • There was a 25% tumble in the number of users between the ages 13 and 17
  • An 80% surge in users with an age of 55 and above.
  • The report also showed users who identified themselves as either high school or college students slumped by 59%, with college alumni seeing a 65% increase.
  • Baby Boomers make up roughly 16% of the Facebook population.

Social Media Sites by Frequency

According to a Google mobile banking trends report, 71% of boomers bank online at least once per week and a 2013 Pew Research Center report found that seven out of 10 seniors 65 and older own a mobile phone.

There’s a New Social Media site just for Baby Boomers called  Boomeon, check it out.


Boomers may have been slower to adopt Social Media, but they are coming on strong. Knowing how to market to them is key.

Where are boomers online? What they are doing online isn’t enough, you need to craft your boomer marketing to answer WHY they are online.

By determining what needs a boomer is trying to fulfill, showing them how your brand can help meet those needs, you can more effectively target today’s boomers.


The three strongest ways to make a connection with Baby Boomers are:

1. Storytelling

From childhood on, we lover to hear stories. They make us happy, sad, intrigued, scared, excited and content. Stories engage us. So use photos, video, text and audio. Turn it into an experience.

2. Positioning

Include open ended elements of your story, allowing the consumer to insert themselves into the scenario and finish the story. Our human brain will finish or complete the pictures and fill in missing information based upon our personal experiences. Images and photos can play a vital role in positioning of your brand.

3. Senses 

Use words and images that engage your fives senses makes stronger emotional responses and our brains find it harder to ignore. For boomers, engaging their senses is especially important because, in their world, it is all about the sensations of the entire experience.

Silver Surfers

What’s been your Social Media experience with Baby Boomers?


About Blair

Facebook Launching Buy Button for Commerce

Blair Evan Ball is a Social Media Coach and founder of Prepare1, a company that works with businesses, individuals and non-profits. He is a former executive with a Fortune 50 company, and his national division did $1Billion in sales annually.

Blair has written three e-books: Facebook for Business Made Easy, Facebook Pages for Business Made Easy, and WordPress Blog Setup Made Easy.

Blair also educates, trains entrepreneurs and business professionals how to amplify their brand, increase revenues, and raise more funds.

Facebook Launching Buy Button for CommerceThe Race is ON! – Get into the Game and WIN!

Comments on this entry are closed.

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: