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Mobile shopping and advertising have caught on quickly in the US. While younger mobile users appreciate the convenience of smartphones for shopping, baby boomers are less sure. And they're a lot more sure they don't like ads on their devices.
eMarketer estimates that nearly three-quarters of US mobile phone users, or 59.3% of the total population, own and use a smartphone at least once a month this year. Smartphone penetration is decidedly higher among younger mobile phone users than among their older counterparts—for example, 90.2% of mobile users ages 25 to 34 have a smartphone this year, vs. 40.7% of those ages 65 and up—baby boomers have solid smartphone adoption, at 64.4% of mobile phone users this year.
But they still don’t feel as warmly toward the devices as millennials or Gen Xers do. According to Experian Marketing Services polling from March 2015, just 28.0% of baby boomers agreed that “my mobile phone connects me to my social world,” vs. 53.5% of millennials and 46.2% of Gen Xers.
Baby boomers were also significantly less likely to say they found text messages just as meaningful as voice conversations, or to say they access the internet primarily through a mobile phone at this point.
Boomers are avid digital buyers. eMarketer estimates that around two-thirds of the total baby boomer population will make a digital purchase this year, only a few percentage points behind millennials. But adding mobile to the mix leaves baby boomers less enthusiastic.
Again, according to Experian Marketing Services, boomers were behind. Just 13.4% said they often used a mobile device to look for local deals while they were out shopping. More than three in 10 Gen X and millennial respondents said the same.
Baby boomers also had a highly negative response to mobile ads. They were less than half as likely as millennials to say they would accept ads in return for something of value. Fewer than 8% said they were likely to purchase a product advertised on their mobile phone—again less than half the rate among millennials. Overall, just 5.2% were interested in receiving ads on their phone at all.
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