“Aging in place” refers literally to baby boomers’ wish to remain in their longtime homes. But it could also apply to a range of boomer activity (and inactivity) as they enter their 60s and 70s—including media usage, shopping behavior and the intent to stay in the workforce.
Are boomers a digital cohort?
Up to a point. But many are aging in place with Web 1.0. About eight in 10 are internet users. Only half use social media—and those who do mostly stick with Facebook. Nearly two-thirds have a smartphone, but they make limited use of its capabilities. Traditional TV still accounts for an outsized proportion of their media mix.
Have they gone digital as shoppers?
Somewhat. About six in 10 baby boomers are digital buyers, vs. much higher proportions of Gen Xers and millennials. They’re less apt to use smartphones as shopping tools, sticking more with home computers. Newer technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) generate little interest as shopping aids. And privacy fears constrain digital usage for transacting purchases.
Will boomers really age in place in the labor force?
With lackluster retirement savings, many hope to do so. But this can prove an unrealistic plan, as job losses and health issues push boomers out of the workforce. There’s much anxiety about retirement readiness, and rightly so.
How about aging in place in their homes—is that really the norm?
About three-quarters of younger boomers and eight in 10 older boomers own their homes. A majority do want to stay put, and they’re driving the market for home remodeling. Still, significant numbers of boomers do move, some as “baby chasers” relocating close to grandchildren.
WHAT’S IN THIS REPORT? This report will assess the degree to which boomers (born 1946-1964, by the most common definition) are in flux vs. staying put in various aspects of life, ranging from digital usage to shopping to work to place of residence. It’s a more complicated mix than conventional wisdom might suggest.
KEY STAT: An example of boomers as digital, but not too digital: They’re much less likely to confess (or brag) that they’re “addicted” to social media.
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