Baby boomers flocked to online shopping like never before during the pandemic, new data shows

Baby boomers flocked to online shopping like never before during the pandemic, new data shows
UPS employee delivers packages. Noam Galai/Getty ImagesNoam Galai/Getty Images
  • Consumers aged 65 and up are the fastest growing group of online shoppers, the Washington Post reported Friday.
  • Data from the NPD Group shows the demographic spent 49% more online in 2020 than the prior year.

During the pandemic, a new trend emerged: baby boomers taking over online shopping.

Consumers 65 and older are now the fastest-growing group of online buyers, spending 49% more on the web in 2020 than they did the year prior, the Washington Post reported, citing data from the NPD Group's checkout tracking. The frequency of purchases also jumped 40%.

On average, these consumers spent a total of $1,615 online from January through October, according to NPD's data, which takes into account online and in-store receipts.

NPD Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read more: Retail saw big winners and losers in 2020. Here's how experts and insiders think the winners can keep winning in 2021 - and the losers could turn things around.


The new buying trend is likely to stick, even after the pandemic ends, the Washington Post reported, citing analysts.

Near the beginning of the pandemic last April, many baby boomers hoarded supplies like toilet paper in a panic. Boomers, along with the rest of the country, began hunkering down at home, often filling their time with home improvement projects. They also took up online shopping, with some learning the ropes for the first time, the Washington Post reported.

Those at greatest risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, which began spreading rapidly in the US last winter, has included people ages 60 and up as well as those who have preexisting conditions. The risk increases with age, putting 80 and 90 year olds at the greatest risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, elderly Americans have bore the brunt of the death toll in the US, with those 65 and older making up about 81% of the more than 400,000 coronavirus-related deaths.