Security Fears, Not Confusion, Keep Older Consumers from Buying CE Online

As someone always on the lookout for the latest and greatest gadgets, I find the internet is the best place to find out what is coming down the pipe and also the most convenient way to purchase. The wide variety of reputable vendors often ensures you can find a deal and internet shopping also allows you to make decisions at your own pace rather than dealing with a potentially pushy salesperson trying to upsell you.

But what factors keep people from buying Consumer Electronics (CE) products online? Compete’s recent survey on consumer electronics shopping behavior helped provide some insight. As someone who prefers to make purchases on my own, I found it interesting that nearly 60% of respondents said that they prefer to deal with a real person. Shipping was also an issue: nearly half (48%) said they didn’t want to pay for shipping, while 27% did not want to wait for the items to ship.

As greater numbers of baby boomers (generally considered those born from 1946-1960) move toward retirement, I thought it might be interesting to look at why older consumers in particular aren’t comfortable with purchasing CE products online. The data suggest that the actual process for shopping online does not dissuade older Americans as much as concerns over the security of their credit card data.

  • Across age groups, concerns about providing credit card info online are consistently a greater deterrent than confusion with the online shopping process
  • Discomfort with providing credit card information online increases dramatically among consumers over the age of 60: 30% of those in their sixties and over half of those in their seventies said it was a reason they didn’t shop for CE online

If online vendors want to capitalize on this growing segment of consumers, they should focus their efforts on informing them of their security measures. Site design and usability can’t be neglected, but make older consumers feel safe and they’ll be more likely to open their wallets.

As we saw earlier, over 25% of consumers aged 50 and up are interesting in purchasing an HDTV in the next year, one of the pricier CE purchases one could make. More broadly, 43% of consumers we surveyed aged 50+ were planning to spend over $500 on consumer electronics in the next 12 months.

Interested in learning more about how consumers shop for and use Consumer Electronics?

For more results from the CEA/Compete study, click here.

Join us at 2 p.m. EST on Feburary 5th for our next webinar featuring results from a joint study with the Consumer Electronics Association on older Americans and technology. Click here to register.