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UK Seniors Are Savvy Digital Shoppers, but Won't Buy Online

Older shoppers see the benefits of using their mobile—and will do so in the future

Older digital shoppers are perhaps savvier and more sophisticated than the general population tends to give them credit for, new research from Shoppercentric suggests.

The main difference between the shopping habits of UK seniors and younger generations seems to be a sense of purpose. Results from November 2013 polling by Shoppercentric suggested that older shoppers know what they want, while younger shoppers prefer to browse. While 43% of 70- to 79-year-olds surveyed said they shopped in-store at least every couple of days, the figure was the same for 18- to 29-year-olds. However, when it came to purchasing digitally, older demographics reported doing so far less often.

And though younger and older age demographics in the UK browsed digitally with a similar amount of frequency, the difference in digital purchase frequency highlighted older shoppers’ preference for researching items of interest online but buying in-store. Younger shoppers’ browsing, on the other hand, may lead to purchasing directly via digital.

UK internet users are increasingly mobile-oriented, and mobile devices are fueling growth in UK digital retail. However, seniors have not yet cottoned onto showrooming, which could be an excellent way of cutting through some of the tiresome aspects of shopping and finding what they want for less.

According to a survey by eDigitalResearch and the Interactive Media in Retail Group, only 16.7% of UK internet users ages 65 to 74 used their smartphone to browse retail sites in-store this year, by far the lowest penetration for this activity.

UK seniors’ tablet adoption has been strong, and smartphone ownership is growing—and showrooming among seniors will rise along with such trends.

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