I've touched on this subject from time to time but with the ever increasing interest and consumption of electronic gadgets, I feel it is time to raise the subject again as many friends and acquaintances tell me that they are still having problems with this issue.
Due in large part to massive improvements in technology over the last decade or so, as well as the fact that our lives are becoming increasingly digitized, there is something of a gap in retail markets where boomers are concerned. Certain things are supposed to be complicated to purchase. For example, choosing an insurance policy from Aviva or organizing a mortgage are generally accepted as complex processes that we all most deal with, regardless of age and experience. But other things are supposed to be simpler, and it is for this reason that many retail markets - particularly with regard to electronics - are falling short when it comes to elderly, or even middle-aged customer markets.
Consider for a moment the number of electronic products that dominate so many people's lives these days. People use iPods and other devices to listen to music virtually everywhere, whether it's walking through town, driving, exercising, etc. An enormous portion of people's work is conducted on laptop computers, whether in the office or comfortably at home. Smart tablets and smart phones allow people to stay connected to the Internet just about everywhere. Even e-readers are becoming more and more popular, and give people the ability to download hundreds, even thousands of books on a single device! The fact is, a great deal of modern life takes place on a screen, and for the younger generations this seems natural- but for others, it takes some getting used to.
This is precisely where retailers for electronic gadgets are falling short, as they rarely have in place any sort of efficient means for helping boomer aged people with purchases and understanding. Younger consumers can easily and confidently research and purchase an e-reader or a touch screen tablet, but to people who have not grown up with these technologies, they require some explanation. Instead of offering this explanation, retailers are largely leaving people in this age range on their own to figure it out, which is not only disastrously unhelpful, but also poor business.
There seems to be a false, unspoken idea that most of the electronic gadgets mentioned above are used primarily by the under 50 crowd or business organizations. Given this idea, it is possible that retailers are ignoring senior citizens simply because they do not see them as targets for business. Also, I have noticed that most retail store sales reps are under 30 amd often shy away from approaching an older consumer. However, this ignores two very basic facts: first, that many people in the boomer age range and older are still working, and second, that many of these devices are used as frequently for entertainment and relaxation as for business. One would have to think that, given the extremely high percentage of the population that falls into the "boomer" category, paying a bit more attention to the needs and desires of this demographic would significantly boost business for electronic retailers and it could be achieved by simply educating sales people how to sell to our demographic.