While about a third of Australian Baby Boomers (30%) claim to shun advertising, more than half (55.2%) say they are “open to new sensible ideas” and rely on television advertising and word of mouth to make purchase decisions, according to new research comparing older Australians to UK and US Baby Boomers.
The research conducted by launch marketing agency Five by Five Global, wanted to delve deeper into Baby Boomers’ attitudes to advertising, since they account for a quarter of Australia’s population and more than half (53%) of its wealth.
With high disposable income, Baby Boomers should be the perfect audience. But they have also experienced incredible change in terms of technology and society throughout their lives, and the research suggests that’s left them cautious when evaluating new products at launch.
With about 3,000 over 55s surveyed across Australia, the UK and US, the research revealed Baby Boomers in Australia took most notice of launches involving cars (57.7%), food and groceries (42.6%), mobile phones (35.2%) and travel (30.1%). About a third say they pay attention to advertising relating to a product or service they already have.
When asked how they viewed new products, 28.6% said they were cautious and 31.1% wanted to find out for themselves about a new product everyone was excited about.
“The research shows that Baby Boomers in this country are not the first people to purchase a newly launched product but they over-index when it comes to early majority adoption,” said Five by Five Managing Director, Matt Lawton (pictured above).
“The importance of word of mouth (41.3%) to this generation also supports the view that Baby Boomers tend to hang back until a launch has been established and someone that they trust recommends the product or service. But once they feel that the product is ‘safe’ to purchase, they embrace it whole-heartedly. This is true across all three continents, with the UK being that little bit more eager to embrace early on [10% more likely than Australia and the US],” Lawton said.
It’s not surprising Baby Boomers still rely on traditional television advertising (65.6%) when making their decisions, however, email is now also popular (32.9%) surpassing mail, leaflets and free magazines (31.3%).
The research also uncovered how major life events affected Boomers’ consideration and likelihood to engage with the launch of a product or service. The main life events identified in Australia were: medical procedure, retirement and moving to a new home.
Matching those life events against the top five product/service launches in Australia, the survey found that retirement and moving to a new home led to a switch in mobile phone (21.5% and 23% respectively) while mobile phones, food launches and healthcare were the main areas that Boomers engaged with if they had recently undergone a medical procedure. On the opposite end of the scale, just 2.5% moved away from their preferred brand when it came to financial services.
Lawton concluded: “Marketers would be wise to factor Boomers into a secondary phase of launch. They’re more than just an age demographic, and these findings further support arguments for marketers to challenge traditional demographic segmentation. To win the hearts of this audience, we need to understand Baby Boomers act only once they’re convinced the product/service is viable and has longevity.”