Over 65s set to drive ecommerce growth as COVID-19 sparks “generational divide”

Ecommerce growth is set to be driven largely by the over-65s after in the coming months amid a massive shift in consumer spending habits.

According to new research from Mintel, which surveyed 2000 internet users, 43 per cent of those aged 65 or more have shopped online more since lockdown began, compared to just 16 per cent in May 2019.

Lockdown has forced many older customers to become accustomed with online shopping which prior to the pandemic they may have avoided in favour of more familiar physical formats.

This is likely to continue as 56 per cent of those over 65 said they were ‘worried’ or ‘extremely worried’ about contracting the virus and will avoid busy shops wherever possible.

READ MORE: £5.3bn boost for UK’s ecommerce sector due to pandemic

Conversely younger shoppers, those aged between 16 and 34, are set to do less of their shopping online as they have been hit harder by the economic impact of COVID-19.

According to the study 38 per cent of those under 35 will cut back on non-essential online purchases in the short to medium term.

“A generational divide will arise as a result of COVID-19,” Mintel research analyst Francesco Salau said.

“Many older consumers have been forced to engage with online retailing, as they’re part of the population especially at risk from the pandemic.

“While Gen Z and Millennial consumers are likely to continue to be the driving forces of the market as the leading online shoppers, they will also be more likely to be cutting back on non-essential spending than older groups.

“As a result, online retailers, and indeed courier services, are more likely to rely on new business from older consumers in the short to medium-term.”

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