Hear how brands can support generational e-commerce shipping expectations for baby boomers

It’s easy to make assumptions about different generations. We’ve all seen the memes that reinforce exaggerated stereotypes. But are these stereotypes based in facts? If not, then what is are the behaviors and values that determine a positive customer shipping experience?

Generational Breakdown

Before we dive into online shopping expectations, let’s make sure we are all on the same page for which generation is which. Many are confused when labeling generations by age, but we should consider these labels by birth year – not age. This is because people grow up. If you think of Millennials as all those college kids (ages 18-22), then you are thinking of their life stage, not their generation. Millennials are now out of college, and Gen Z is dominating that stage of life.

Here is the most common breakdown by age:

  • Baby Boomers: They were born between 1946 and 1964 and there are approximately 71.6 million in the U.S.
  • Gen X: They were born between 1965 and 1979/80 and there are 65.2 million in the U.S.
  • Gen Y: Also known as Millennials, they were born between 1981 and 1994/6. There are 72.1 million in the U.S.
  • Gen Z: Born between 1997 and 2012 and there are nearly 68 million in the U.S.
  • Gen A: Children born in 2012 and will continue at least through 2025, maybe later. There are approximately 48 million in the U.S.

Shipping Expectations by Generation

So now that we have a clear picture of the size and composition of each generation, let’s dive into what they are looking for.

Baby Boomers

While Millennials have been the topic of e-commerce conversation for some time now, we can’t forget about their older counterparts. And though Gen X has the largest spending power, baby boomers still spend nearly $550 billion annually and the most by generation per transaction.

As the trends show that baby boomers are staying in the workforce longer, their financial impact continues to influence the economy. In fact, they are the only generational group experiencing growth in the workforce, i.e. they are still working. This change in lifestyle translates to more disposable income and spending power.

If we look at baby boomers by the numbers, a few other important statistics should be noted.

  • Consumers aged 65 and older are now the fastest-growing demographic of online buyers.
  • According to Colorado University, the average baby boomer spends 27 hours per week online.
  • Over 60% of baby boomers have experience making purchases online.
  • Baby boomers spend an average of $64k per year on consumer goods and services (2x that of their younger counterparts).

As baby boomers value trust and convenience, transparency during the shipping process and tracking and notifications of shipment are a baseline for reaching their optimal customer experience. Communicate shipping updates to your baby boomer customers at post-purchase by enlisting the help of automation tools. Allow customers to track their shipments without ever leaving your e-commerce site. [Explore how visibility can be enhanced with Multi-Carrier Shipping Software]  

In addition, baby boomers appreciate the convenience of choice in their delivery options, especially the last mile – considering that some may still be taking additional precautions against Covid. Fulfillment strategies that offer a broad range of service and delivery options will appeal to these consumers. [One thing that is certain: Single Carrier Strategies Don’t Work. Learn why!]  

Brands that have access to a multitude of internal and external inventory sources, like distribution centers, stores, third-party logistics facilities, and manufacturers, will multiply the success of those delivery options by moving the product even closer to the consumer. Omnichannel fulfillment at its finest! [Keep Reading about parcel shipping strategies for success]

Baby Boomers Need Brands with Multi-Carrier Shipping Software

Now that they have it, don’t think that baby boomers will leave their spending power on the table for just anyone to take. While they are a frequent punching bag among critics for their spending in excess, by 2029 – the year when the last Boomer will have turned 65, the U.S. Census Bureau projects that there will still be over 61 million baby boomers— about 17.2 percent of the projected US population and they will continue to hold a massive influence over e-commerce spending.

Knowing this insight into the baby boomer persona, you have a deeper understanding of how to influence their e-commerce decisions and where they may be headed in the near future. And with this much spending power still in play, brands must partner with an elite shipping software solution that can meet and exceed evolving expectations of baby boomers. ProShip’s best-in-class supply chain technology facilitates millisecond transaction times and advanced functionality, like automated rate shopping and advanced date shopping.

Connect with our expert team of IT and supply chain professionals to get started!