Step Aside, Kids

April 1998


Step Aside, Kids

Grandma's moving on to the Web

Techies from the generation branded "X," with their affinity for writing computer programs to do all their work, may have ushered in the Internet boom, but their parents and grandparents have embraced it with vigor.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported 36% of Americans between ages 50 and 64 owned a PC last year (up from 27% in 1996); customers over age 55 made up 14% of all PC sales by Packard Bell NEC Inc. in 1997. For jewelers looking for new ways to reach the retired set (especially those with empty nests and bulging wallets), the statistics suggest interesting marketing possibilities. Some WSJ findings:

  • The number of minutes per month people over age 50 spend using PCs is 47% higher than the average for all age groups.
  • WebTV, the new service bringing the World Wide Web to homes without computers, is marketing strongly to seniors with a TV spot featuring an elderly woman's proud e-mail: "And, son, I plugged it in myself."
  • Web sites such as Third Age ( and Senior-Com ( appeal to retirees with articles on health, hobbies, financial news and technical concerns, chat rooms and message boards.
  • Seniors use the Internet to stay in touch with family by e-mail, build an on-line community and fight loneliness and boredom.

Reach Those Surfing Seniors

Advertise in senior center newsletters, small community newspapers and local travel guides to reach retirees. Include your Web site URL and e-mail address in the ads.

Send e-mail newsletters to keep in touch with customers who can't physically come to the store often. Inform them of upcoming sales, promotions and products that might interest them.

Host on-line chat sessions, bulletin boards or newsgroups about jewelry and gemstones.

Sponsor local Internet user groups at your community center.

Publish an on-line or CD-ROM catalog that shut-ins or less mobile customers can use to shop from home.

Investigate advertising possibilities on senior-focused Web sites.

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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