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What Baby Boomers Want From Technology

what do Baby Boomers want from technology?

By Ray B. Williams

In 2011, approximately 30% of the U.S. population will be over the age of 50. Yet, in 2010, they are expected to outspend younger adults by $1 trillion. Boomers are not going away quietly into the sunset.

As Steve Lohn reported in The New York Times, Boomers show a great deal of interest in purchasing consumer electronics, more than any other age group. Focus groups, aged 50-60, and organized by the AARP and Microsoft, gathered together in San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, and New York to discuss the issue of future trends in technology. Contrary to many public and media perceptions, Baby Boomers have a real interest in continuing adoption of technology.

Michael Rogers, an author, futurist, consultant and former Vice President of the Washington Post's media division, led the focus group discussions. He concluded that the Boomers will be a driving force behind the use of information technology in the next decade, particularly in the health care industry, one of the largest in our society. He commented further, that Boomers don't want technology products that are complicated and cluttered with excessive features.

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A recent study by TV Land company showed that Boomers were very involved in technology adoption, and yet are underserved by marketing initiatives, which mostly aim at younger people.  Another study by leading market research company NPD Group, showed that 41% of Boomers regularly visit social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and 61% visit websites that offer streaming or downloadable videos.

So it's clear that Baby Boomers are not the Luddites that some media critics seem to suggest, and in fact are very plugged in to technology adoption, something that marketing initiatives have yet to reflect.


 

Ray Williams is the author of Breaking Bad Habits and The Leadership Edge.

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