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Web companies are ignoring the lucrative 50+ demographic

Entrepreneur Tip - Photo: Matt Marshall of VentureBeat, Steve Jurvetson, and Jody Holtzman (L-R). Photo credit: Heather Kelly-VentureBeat

Photo: Matt Marshall of VentureBeat, Steve Jurvetson, and Jody Holtzman (L-R). Photo credit: Heather Kelly/VentureBeat

If you found that 60 to 80 percent of your customers belonged to a particular demographic, you’d probably retarget your marketing and product development efforts to focus on that market.

Yet many internet companies are failing to do just that.

The population in question is the growing slice of the American population 50 years old and up. According to Steve Jurvetson, a managing director at venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Jody Holtzman, a senior vice president at AARP, many digital companies are doing nothing to accommodate older consumers. The two spoke in a panel discussion today at DEMO Spring 2012 in Santa Clara, Calif., an event co-produced by VentureBeat.

According to Jurvetson, people in this demographic:

  • consume 60 percent of all consumer goods,
  • consume 80 percent of all leisure travel, and
  • shop online 3X as much as 18-34 year olds.

“Demographics is destiny. This is going to shift markets all over the world,” Jurvetson said.

Additionally, the total annual consumer spending by baby boomers is $2.5 trillion, with $1 trillion of that spent by those 65 and up, Holtzman said. By comparison, people in Generation Y spend only $800 billion per year.

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