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Older Boomers Don't Buy as Much Home Media as Others

10 Mar, 2005 By: Melinda Saccone

Older baby boomers are living in some of the least-connected households on the block, despite being one of the wealthiest demographic groups.

More than 80 million consumers were born between 1946 and 1964 in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, yielding a lot of economic power.

But while many baby boomers have led many technological advances, the leading edge of that demographic has been one of the slowest groups to embrace the newest technology in home media. Baby boomers older than 50 are less likely to own a DVD player, use pay-per-view, subscribe to digital cable, subscribe to satellite, have high-speed Internet access, own a game console or have a home theater system than the overall population, according to Home Media Research's 2004 Consumer Study.

Only 48 percent of these boomers own a DVD player, compared to 66 percent of the overall population, the study showed.

While the over-50 crowd may not own the latest hardware gadgets, they have embraced the Internet. Nearly 85 percent own a PC, and almost 90 percent said they are connected to the Internet.

Older boomers were much less likely to buy or rent packaged home media than the overall population. Two-thirds of these boomers purchased a disc in the past year, while 57 percent had rented a DVD. By comparison, about 77 percent of the overall population had bought a DVD in the past year, while 69 percent had rented.

As with mainstream America, discounters such as Wal-Mart, Target or Costco are the primary DVD purchase destination for older boomers. For disc rental, this group prefers Blockbuster, with their local video store coming in second.

Hit releases top the list of what these boomers are buying. However, their tastes are different from the overall population. Older boomers were some of the heaviest procurers of family fare and classics, with 43 percent and 33 percent having purchased DVDs in those genres, respectively. By comparison, 38 percent of the overall population said they had purchased family fare in the past year, and 22 percent said they had bought a classic title.

Fiftysomethings' current ownership of high-end electronics, such as plasma and LCD flat-screen televisions, parallels the overall population at 12 percent. However, they tied with fortysomethings when it came to purchase intent for next-generation TVs. Forty-eight percent of boomers said their next TV purchase would be flat-screen or LCD, while nearly 60 percent of 20-somethings and 56 percent of 30-somethings plan to buy that kind of set.

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