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I can’t believe we have such a crazy generation these days that is always on their phones instead of enjoying the moment. At dinner or around town you can’t even get these people away from their screens and their Facebook friends or games. Yep those crazy baby boomers just can’t get enough of their phones. Wait what? Baby Boomers?

Over the past week I was able to be on vacation in a beautiful place. I had a lot of opportunities to see how other people were vacationing as well, and I noticed a common trend. At dinner, around the pool, on a boat, or just around town, it wasn’t the Millennials that were on their phones, but the baby boomers. Now this is a very raw observation of maybe 100-500 people of various age ranges, but it brings up an interesting point. Are businesses and marketers to blinded by the shiny new Millennial object to notice the other large generations that are also addicted to their phones and everything happening on them?

A report from eMarketer shows that by 2019 76% of baby boomers will be active mobile users as well which is around 48.5 million people. Those users are also checking there phones 46x per day on average. Sure that is lower than the 123 times for gen z, but nearly 2x an hour is still a number to be recognized.  Nearly 1 in 3 baby boomers also said that they would feel very anxious if they lost their smartphone for a day.

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From the same eMarketer report we can also see that social penetration rates are also pretty high with 3 out of every 5 baby boomers claiming to be active on social media. The network of choice is Facebook and will most likely remain to be as it covers the social need of this group and provides the largest access to baby boomer friends of all generations. Mobile gaming, health industries, and even retail businesses have a great opportunity at capturing the baby boomer community on social. Nearly 1 in 10 baby boomers in the report said they are more likely to purchase products used or recommended on social sites.

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Much like when the television entered our living rooms for the first time, the mobile phone has changed the world for all generations. The penetration rates are much lower with baby boomers for both mobile and social, but with the post retirement buying power that baby boomers have they are worth focusing some marketing time on. The next time you are out take a look around and see who may or may not be enjoying a funny post from a friend instead of the beautiful sunset. It may just be a baby boomer instead of the tech addicted millennial you expected to see. I know the next time I am out to eat with my parents I will make sure to remind them that it is rude to look at Facebook and play bejeweled at the restaurant.  

About Joe Martin

Joe is currently head of Social Insights at Abode. He has lived in Sao Paulo and Salvador Brazil, traveled to Japan, Korea, Europe and worked with companies all across the United States, EMEA, and APAC. Through his experience, he's learned how to better apply talents to help others in his field and across different nationalities and different functional teams. He has an MBA from the University of Utah.

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