Survey: Baby boomers have unique needs for cross-border e-commerce

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Global e-commerce shoppers who are baby boomers have different expectations than younger groups when purchasing online from international brands.

 Baby boomer respondents age 57-75 look for fundamental best practices, such as the use of local language and currency and clear refund policies, at higher rates than younger shoppers, particularly those under 40, according to results of “Global Voices 2021: Cross-Border Shopper Insights,” a new global consumer survey from e-commerce technology/services provider eShopWorld (ESW)

For example, when shopping cross-border, 43% of boomers said they prefer websites to present information in their own local language (compared to 31% of shoppers 40 and under), and 39% prefer to be shown prices in their own local currency (compared to 31% of younger shoppers).

About two-thirds (65%) of global baby boomer e-commerce shoppers have used credit or debit cards to make cross-border purchases, while only 3% have taken advantage of buy now, pay later options. In comparison, 12% of respondents ages 40 and under have used buy now, pay later options. 

Four in 10 (42%) baby boomer respondents said lower cost is a primary factor when shopping cross-border, compared to 32% of those in younger age groups. Only 27% of respondents in both the boomer and 40-and-under age groups said that satisfaction with a previous shopping experience was a major concern.

Other interesting findings include:
•    Half as many boomers (9%) as younger shoppers (18%) said they are swayed by referrals or positive ratings when shopping online from international brands.
•    Among respondents ages 57–75 who had made a purchase from an international e-commerce site over the past six months, 72% said they had shopped for clothing, compared 91% of shoppers ages 40 and under, making clothing the most popular product category among both groups.
•    Three in 10 (29%) of boomer respondents said a clear refund policy was important when shopping online from international merchants, compared 24% of those in the Gen Z (18-24) and millennial (25-40) groups.

ESW fielded responses from more than 22,000 consumers in 11 countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, Singapore, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S.), who were surveyed online in December 2020. ESW looked specifically at survey responses from shoppers in seven countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Russia, the UK and the US.