Business Blog

Shopping Habits of Social Media Followers Tied to Age


Got lots of folks following your brand on social media? Great! Have you found ways to turn your followers into spenders? Even better! But you have to know your audience.


It’s estimated that seven out of 10 U.S. internet users used social media, but a report by eMarketer.com goes into more detail, revealing that different age groups have different spending habits related to how they interact online.


The summary of an early 2017 study by “Sprout Social” identifies consumers in three age groups: Millennials (18-34), Gen X (35-54) and Baby Boomers (55+).


The first notable difference is that Millennials and Gen Xers are twice as likely as Baby Boomers to follow a brand on social media (approx. 50% vs. 24.5%). Of those who follow a brand, what are they looking for?


Millennials: entertainment and information

Gen Xers: contests and deals

Baby Boomers: deals and information


So, who’s buying? Gen Xers are the biggest spenders, with 67% likely or somewhat likely to make a purchase from a brand they follow on social media, compared with 60% of Millennials and 51% of Baby Boomers.


What can your company do to influence followers to make a purchase? It’s pretty simple: Provide positive interaction. According to Sprout, this simple step increases willingness to purchase by 14% across all age groups.


Another important point to remember is that you can easily lose touch with a social media follower for any number of reasons. Millennials are quick to unfollow a brand when they find social posts to be annoying or if they have a bad experience with the brand’s page. Gen Xers report unfollowing mainly if a social page is annoying or results in spam. And Baby Boomers are the most sensitive to spam, with nearly one-third citing it as the main reason they unfollow a brand.


Not surprisingly, Facebook is the leading social media platform used by U.S. digital buyers to follow brands, according to a May 2017 survey by Campaigner, an email marketing platform. Facebook’s 54% beats out Pinterest (18%), Instagram (18%), LinkedIn (9%), Snapchat (5%) and Twitter (3%).


However – pay attention, this is really important – only 24% of all digital buyers in the survey said they wanted to interact with their favorite brands via social media. In-store and in-person communication was cited the most (65%), followed by company websites (58%) and email (44%).


While all of that should provide much to consider for outdoor industry marketers, it’s imperative to always understand that a one-size-fits-all approach to reaching customers is not good enough. In a stark contrast that again shows the importance of taking your followers’ ages into consideration, there’s this fact: Among respondents who said they are likely to interact with brands via social, 47% of Millennials responded positively, versus only 11% of Baby Boomers.


Know your audience and take care of your customers. In the digital age, those two old-fashioned marketing tenets are still as important as ever.


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