Posted April 14, 2014 4:13 pm by with 0 comments

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We know that Gen Y and Gen X rarely leave the house without their mobile phones. It’s a tool they grew up with and can’t remember living without. On the other end of the seesaw are the baby boomers who remember the days when you had to drop a dime in a payphone to make a call from a public place. Can’t find the store you’re looking for? That same phone booth has a handy dandy telephone book on a chain that you can use to look it up. How archaic!

But a new survey conducted by Thrive Analytics and released today by the Local Search Association, shows that now older generations are climbing on board the local-mobile train, too.

Local Search Boomer Survey

Baby Boomers are the folks who were born between 1946 and 1964. That means they moved into adulthood at a time when technology was going through a massive change – a change that impacted how almost every one of us lives and works. I’m not sure the same is true for Gen Y or X.

The shift turned computer technology from a tool only large companies used to a tool everyone could use at home. At the time, we only dreamed that those same computers could fit in our pockets and work without wires in the outside world.

Because this was such a dramatic shift, Boomers can be divided into two categories – Younger (44-53) and Older (54+) which includes anyone born before 1946.

As you can see from the dials above, Younger Boomers are using their smartphones to gather shopping intelligence at almost the same rate as their younger counterparts. They use their phones to do price comparisons and to look for or redeem coupons and deals. Younger users are less interested in coupons and deals – they just want to make sure they’re getting the best product for the best price. As a group, Gen Y (65%) and Gen X (62%) shoppers are more likely to leave a store if their smartphone says they can do better somewhere else.

Only 45% of Young Boomers are prepared to walk out if they find a better deal and even fewer Older Boomers would bother.

Older shoppers are also less likely to “check-in” to a location but you can shift the odds if you offer them a deal as an incentive to do so. They’re also not fond of text messages in exchange for a deal. The best response on that was 55% of Gen Xers saying they’d happily accept a branded text in return for a coupon.

Here’s my favorite slice of the Mobile Goes Universal infographic:

Local Search guiltThey may be guilt-free but many shoppers still go through the trouble of hiding their smartphones because they’re worried about getting called out by an employee. I routinely use my phone to look up items I find in stores for potential resale on eBay and I always try to be as covert about it as possible. Why? Because I have had employees question what I’m doing and I don’t like it.

Tell the truth. Are you comfortable comparison shopping on your smartphone while in a brick and mortar store? If you’re a store owner, how do you feel when you see a potential customer whip out his phone?