Baby boomers are more in-tune with online shopping than you’d imagine.
Anupam Pahuja, VP, South East Asia, Middle East & Africa at PayPal, said that baby boomers are engaging in e-commerce shopping more than any other generation, following the lockdowns of 2020.
Pahuja shared this while appearing as a guest speaker during a panel dubbed ‘The Changing Face of Payments and Commerce,’ during the last day of ADGM’s Fintech Abu Dhabi 2021 event.
Research by NPD Group’s Checkout Tracking, cited by The Washington Post, tells a similar story. The data found that consumers 65 and older, on average, spent a total of $1,615 online from January through October of 2020, a 49 per cent increase from a year earlier, making them the fastest-growing cohort of online shoppers. The frequency of purchases, meanwhile, climbed more than 40 per cent.
Pahuja also noted that another trend PayPal has recently noticed was the rise of social commerce, which has been the tool of choice for many small businesses.
Additionally, cross-border shopping has increased 48%, with customers either looking for products that are not available in their home country, or comparing domestic prices with prices abroad.
The future of offline shopping
Commenting on the future fate of offline shopping, Pahuja explained that while there will be a decrease in footfall at physical stores, brick and mortar retail will never disappear. In fact, the true future of retail is omnichannel, bringing online and offline shopping together in one unified experience.
Where SMEs fit in the e-commerce puzzle
Pahuja highlighted that looking back at 2020, it was small businesses that were hurt the most, as many SMEs didn’t have online shopping options. With millions stuck at home, small businesses saw their sales eviscerated.
However, this necessary push towards digitalization served as a “great equalizer,” putting SMEs and big corporations on the same level, where smaller brands are able to reach the same audiences that bigger brands could, as the challenge of high street accessibility, for example, were no longer an issue.
In the long run, the benefits for SMEs will far outweigh the initial detrimental impact of the pandemic, as these small businesses will come to experience a decreased cost of operations, for example, with rent and sales staff costs slashed, for example, while revenues will increase given the larger consumer base. Pahuja also noted that on the SME level, brands with an online retail presence will also have a leg up on the competition.