New Influence Central Research Upends Traditional View of Empty-Nester Generation

When the descriptors “tech-savvy” and “digitally fluent” become attached to a consumer group, they typically evoke images of a young, Smartphone-wielding, 20-something cohort.

But according to unprecedented research findings from social media and digital consultancy Influence Central, this ease and fluidity with online technology can now equally describe today’s 45+ Empty-Nester generation. In dramatic fashion, the study reveals new insights into how this generation defies long-held beliefs about Empty-Nesters’ digital and cultural complacency and how instead their emergent technology confidence has resulted in this generation’s embrace of a new era of product discovery and consumer purchasing.

Recently, Influence Central teamed up with Vibrant Nation, the leading online community for women 45 and over, to field a research study of more than 600 American women, 45+ without children living at home. The study illuminates the purchase path of these Empty-Nesters, both online and offline, how they rely on social media to keep them in the know and up to date on news and trends, and their attitudes toward traditional media.

“Our research showed that a profound disconnect exists in how this generation sees themselves and how they’re viewed externally,” shares Stacy DeBroff, CEO of Influence Central. “Today’s Empty-Nesters feel confident, tech-savvy, and highly connective online, yet marketers still stereotype them as passively consuming traditional media and swept up in advertising. Empty-Nesters are embracing social media and today’s online recommendation culture, ignoring and disliking advertising, and completely redefining their consumer journey.”

The research study’s top-line findings include the following:

Social Media Savvy

  • Even though Empty-Nesters did not grow up as digital natives surrounded by technology and social media, they’ve risen to the challenge.
  • Nearly 90% are on Facebook. Moreover, nearly 60% share posts through Twitter.
  • 72% use their Smartphone to visit social media sites and frequently shop via their Smartphones and tablets.
  • 9 out of 10 Empty-Nesters consider themselves texters, and 36% prefer texting over talking on the phone.
  • While they typically do not play the role of content creaters, they are highly involved joiners and purveyors

This Generation Will Google You

  • The Empty-Nester purchase path has moved online, with Google becoming the first stop along the way.
  • Even if an Empty-Nester learns about a product offline, she will research online to find information, reviews, and deals.
  • In fact, 90% of Empty-Nesters search for items online through Google or other search engines before making a spend.

Persuasion of Online Reviews

  • For this generation, first- and third-person reviews play a key role in their purchasing decisions.
  • Nearly 80% of Empty-Nesters are more likely to purchase a product if it receives a high star rating in a retail e-commerce review.
  • Nearly 75% are more likely to purchase a product that receives a positive first-person review.
  • In addition, 45% of Empty-Nesters are more likely to purchase a product if it is recommended by a blogger they follow.

Ignoring Advertising

  • And the traditional media that marketers associate with this generation? While it can help build brand awareness, it doesn’t result in conversion to purchase for Empty-Nesters.
  • Just 12% say they’re more likely to purchase a product when used in a compelling commercial ad.
  • More than 65% say they are skeptical of traditional advertising.

Rise of Online Purchasing

  • Today’s Empty-Nesters also have made the shift to online purchasing, with more than 80% spending more time browsing for products online than in the store.
  • 65% of Empty-Nesters use their Smartphone to seek out product information.
  • 64% of users make purchases from online retailers from their tablets.

In addition to teaming up on the joint research study, Influence Central and Vibrant Nation have partnered to help brands reach the Empty-Nester consumer and run effective marketing campaigns. For a copy of the full Empty-Nester report, contact [email protected] or click here to download.


One Comment

  1. Cloris Kylie

    Great information, Hilary! It’s a reminder that responsive sites are a must, and that publicity and reviews trump advertising.

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