The Internet’s Best Kept Secret

E-tail success usually comes when a company outdoes its adversaries with a hard-hitting mix of product, price and ease-of-use.

It also comes when a company figures out a way to service an under-served market. That’s why the good news for e-tailers everywhere is that there is an age group that has not been fully served on the Web.

Generation Which?

What age group is best at maneuvering through cyberspace? That’s easy, Generation Y. These younger-than-X pups think that the Internet has always been around. They shop at Delia’s and hang out at Pokemon.com.

They’re savvy. They’re smart. And they’re broke. You can get them to Disney.com, but they can’t afford the Mickey Mouse watches.

So who do you turn to if you’re an e-tailer? Next stop is ol’ reliable, Generation X. They have money if they’re professionals, but the retail crowd around their portals is thick. Everybody wants a piece of that action.

So what about the boomers? They’re getting cyber-savvier, but they’re not all the way there. The boomers are the holdouts that broadband is supposed to capture. They’ve got bucks, and they want to be online, but they also have no time, and their kids are entering college. So they’re broke, too.

The Secret’s Out: It’s Generation A

Who’s left? Generation A.

Generation A?

You can guess what Generation A is: The 50-plus generation. Ten million of them are now online, and that figure should double in the next two years. There are 87 million Gen A consumers, compared with only 50 million 18-to-30 year olds. Plus, they have 70 percent of America’s financial assets and control 50 percent of our discretionary income. They even buy 25 percent of all toys.

And most of all, these people are beginning to get comfortable with e-tailing. “We are actually finding the 55 to 65 year olds are highly comfortable buying online,” said Gail Janensch, public relations director for research firm Greenfield Online. “Plus, these people have a great amount of disposable income.”

The Sleeping Giant

So what is it that has kept e-tailers from lunging after Generation A consumers they way they do the others? Do our Gen A-ers lack the flash and sizzle that Net marketers and PR flacks need to justify their existence? Or do these Young Turks figure that technology has forever passed these people by?

Actually, the reasons do not even matter. Our largest industries, such as autos and vitamin supplements, have long known that seniors are a prosperous and loyal group. They will continue to harness the huge financial resources and eventually, someone on the Net will figure it out.

Until then, these Gen A-ers will continue to do what they have been doing – spend money at somebody else’s site.

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