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OK Boomer. No, we mean it

Older Americans love technology. The companies that make it need to meet Boomers where they're at and offer human, reliable, and convenient support.

An older man talking to a tech expert

“Ok, Boomer.” This snarky meme, popularized on social media, captures the mocking way that Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z sometimes view their parents and grandparents, and their attitudes about everything from politics to the environment.

The tech world has absorbed this ageist attitude as well. We often dismiss the Baby Boom generation as technophobes with little interest in owning or using the latest devices. 

Yet as Asurion’s 2024 Tech Lifestyle Report discovered, many Boomers are invested in and get great satisfaction from technology. Companies shouldn't ignore that. There’s a real opportunity here if they’re willing to see it. 

Not so out of touch

Boomers are not among tech’s early adopters—more than 1 in 3 describe themselves as “among the last” or “the very last” to try new tech. But they are more likely to own a smartphone, a tablet, and a fitness tracker than their counterparts in Gen Z. They also tend to dominate the home office category, particularly when it comes to desktop and laptop computers. 

Their investment in new tech is growing too. Within the next year, more than two-thirds of Boomers will own a smart home device, while one-third will own a smartwatch. And most Boomers who already own a smartwatch say they use it more than they thought they would. 

Confident, empowered, and optimistic

Why this interest in tech? Like their younger counterparts, Boomers tend to buy gadgets for “entertainment and fun.” Among other reasons, Boomers are more likely to buy personal connectivity devices to manage their health and wellness, they often see home office tech as a way to automate tasks and free up time, and they are highly motivated by safety and security in the smart home devices category (55% vs. 40% for all people).

More Boomers generally report feeling satisfied with their devices than younger people across most categories. Personal connectivity devices, like smartwatches, tend to make many Boomers feel confident, empowered, and optimistic, while entertainment systems make them feel in control.

Not your grandparents’ tech help

Here’s the problem—and the opportunity. Despite being avid tech users, almost 4 in 5 Boomers (78%) say they aren't comfortable with tech projects or aren't tech-savvy. And no wonder: This generation was born right after World War II. They weren’t raised in a digital world. They’re still learning how it works, and they want help. 

But the companies that make these products often have treated them—and tech support in general—as a necessary burden, not an opportunity. These companies need to find better ways to reach Boomers with relevant information and ideas about how tech could make their lives more convenient. 

One way to do so is to offer better tech help for the devices they already own. Across every category, Boomers report that their biggest concerns with owning devices are “I don’t need it” and “it doesn’t interest me,” along with a smattering of fears, such as “I won’t use it enough,” “it’s too complicated,” “I won’t know how to use it,” and “I want to simplify the tech I have.” 

Providing human, reliable, and convenient tech support can help Boomers overcome these fears while building trust and brand loyalty over time. When asked how their tech experiences might be improved, more Boomers said they wanted devices to be easier to use (24% vs. 16% for all users) and that they’d like to see better instructions and more tutorials (17% vs. 10% for all users).

With relevant and timely tech help through the right channels, Boomers have the potential to embrace the newest technology and become loyal users of a wide range of devices. We just need to meet them where they're at.

Want more insights about how people really interact with technology? Check out Asurion's 2024 Tech Lifestyle Report.

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