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Boomers, Gen X-ers, and Millennials All Prefer to Use One Type of Device When Shopping Online

laptopshoppingYounger people have a different way of doing things than previous generations, and it’s absolutely important that marketers understand these differences in order to effectively communicate with them. In this Internet-saturated modern world, the most vital of these differences is how a particular generation consumes content and uses the Internet to find products and services.

In order to understand the digital differences between generations, creative agency Millward Brown Digital surveyed 1,000 consumers across three generations: boomers, born between 1946 and 1964; Generation Xers, born between 1965 and 1980; and millennials, born after 1980.

“What the data demonstrates is that even with our advanced knowledge of digital today, advertisers and marketers can’t make assumptions about how various demographics and targets are using digital devices and mobile to access content,” Millward Brown Digital’s research director Joline McGoldrick told AdWeek. “It is easy to stereotype and say the best way to reach millennials is on mobile, but that is not always true.”

The study found that all consumers still rely on laptops and personal computers. Although Millennials were the first ones to embrace mobile shopping platforms, the survey shows that they still use traditional computers, depending on how important what they’re shopping for is. The survey also showed that both Gen X-ers and Boomers were embracing both tablets and smartphones as platforms with which to shop, especially when it comes to consumer packaged goods, and electronics.

“As the analysis shows, device usage varies from generation to generation based upon what the activity is,” McGoldrick told AdWeek. “There needs to be a more granular understanding of how activity and type of content dictates preferences for screen usage in order to make a truly effective and efficient marketing strategy.”

What’s most interesting about the study, though, is that it serves to remind marketers not to put too much stock in mobile advertising, which has been predicted to be the greatest new way to reach target audiences. It’s true that over half of all mobile searches lead to a purchase, and that mobile ads performed four to five times better than online ads, but the fact of the matter is that the majority of people are still relying on traditional Internet platforms to consume content and search for products and services.

“We are all about mobile advertising,” says Kelly Cooper, Marketing/PR, Agency 850. “However, a good point was made to where you do not want to put all your eggs in one basket. Mobile is very important but it is good to have a healthy diversification for your advertising dollars.”

So although mobile marketing is poised to dominate online marketing, traditional search engine marketing strategies still appear to be the best strategies. With so many amazing statistics evaluating mobile marketing, it’s easy for marketers to get ahead of themselves, but also dangerous. Should they put all their eggs in the mobile basket, it’s quite likely that they still won’t reach the audience they need to.



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