I continue to get questions from homebuilders about using the Internet to reach buyers over the age of 50. Apparently, there is the belief that Baby Boomers still do their home search the old-fashioned way.
If you think that Baby Boomers haven’t embraced the Internet for home buying research, you’re grossly underestimating the techno-savviness of the demographic segment of people born between 1946 and 1959. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this group currently numbers about 78.2 million people who are now 50 years or older.
Here’s another statistic for you: The fastest growing market segment on the popular social network Facebook (which, incidentally, started as a community of college kids) is women over 55, with 175.3% growth. The population of men and women between the ages of 45 and 54 on Facebook has grown 165% in the past four months alone. The combined population of men and women on Facebook over the age of 45 is about 3.5 million registered users. You can bet that if they’re using social networking, they recognize the viral value of the Internet for all aspects of their lives.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project reports that 42% of the people who looked online to research a new home were 50 or older in 2005. In 2009, the latest study shows that Baby Boomers comprise 35% of the total adult population using the Internet. They’re wired to the Web and they know how to use it!
When you consider that the Internet has been around for more than a decade, you can see that it was the Boomers who adapted to the technology, if only to keep pace with the up-and-comers chasing them in the workplace — the ones who cut their teeth on the Web. As Boomers have begun to retire, they have both the time and financial means to spend time exploring the wonders of the Web — most specifically for researching their buying choices. And the housing industry has noticed.
It’s time to take notice of the 50+ population of home buyers on the Internet. You can be sure they’ll be taking notice of you, if you have the vision to connect with them there!