Online shopping website on laptop screen with female hands typing

Although most still prefer to buy in-store.

Online shopping by Australia’s oldest generation, the Pre-boomers, is set to grow faster than all other age groups in the year ahead, according to new research from the Commonwealth Bank.

Pre-boomers (over 70 years) have indicated they will increase their online purchasing by 18% over the next 12 months. Baby boomers (51 to 70 years) are also expecting double digit growth (10%). In contrast, Gen Y (22 to 35 years) anticipates a 5% increase, the lowest growth rate of the generations.

While Australian retailers and shoppers agree that 25% of all purchases are currently made online, retailers are predicting a 24% increase in online sales over the next 12 months, compared to shoppers forecasting a mere 9% rise in online shopping.

Commonwealth Bank national manager for retail, Jerry Macey said, “The older generations will be a strong driver of online sales growth in the coming year, with purchases from Pre-boomers expected to grow at twice the rate of the average Australian shopper, albeit from a low base. Collectively, shoppers are also saying online sales overall could fall significantly short of retailers’ expectations.”

Despite retailers and consumers agreeing that some level of online sales growth will occur, the vast majority of shoppers still prefer to make purchases in-store (59%) rather than online (16%). A quarter of shoppers indicated no preference.

A preference for bricks and mortar was most prevalent among Baby Boomers (71%) and Pre-boomers (76%). However, the youngest generation, Gen Z (16 to 21 years), had a greater preference for in-store (54%) than both Gen Y (48%) and Gen X (51%) (36-50 years).

“While online sales are tipped to grow, most shoppers still prefer to buy in-store. Contrary to popular belief, Gen Z is indicating a strong preference for shopping in-store, more so than the two generations that immediately precede them,” Macey said.