The over 50 crowd is the fastest growing age group in North America, as well as the wealthiest and largest group of home buyers in the United States. Understanding how they actually use technology to assist in their house hunt is just one way you can tap into this major opportunity.
2000 versus 2015
If you were to look at the number of seniors using the internet as we entered the new millennium it was a mere 14%. When you compare that number to the younger set who were already at 70% at that time, it would appear seniors had little interest in computers or using them as a resource for research, shopping or entertainment. Fast forward to 2015 and those numbers have changed drastically with 58% of seniors now using the internet. Although that is still quite behind younger age groups who are coming in at 98%, the gap between the two is closing fast.
In 2000, there were 56 percentage points between the amount of younger people and older generations using the internet, yet last year there was only 40. Of those who do use the internet, 71% say they go online pretty much every day, 82% say the internet is their favorite source for learning more about a topic of interest and 46% use social media sites, with 97% saying Facebook is their favored social networking site.
The favored site to view videos for seniors is YouTube with 83% using this as a source of information and entertainment and 47% saying that they have decided to seek more information after watching a video on YouTube.
House Hunting & the Internet
If you take a look at numbers specific to home buyers, the numbers are even more revealing. 75% of senior home buyers go online to search for a home. In fact, 39% of senior home buyers began their research online and 30% of senior home buyers first learned about the home they ended up buying online. This number has been continually growing with 44% of overall buyers saying that they found the home they purchased online.
Seniors are home shopping in a very different way. They place high value on the amount of information they can find online regarding a neighborhood and are even more impressed when that information comes with some form of interactive map or virtual tour.
Following their online research seniors are very likely to take action such as driving by a home, visiting an open house or choosing to view virtual tours online. They also have used their research to find an agent to help them search for a home, or buy a home they have found online.
Not surprisingly the search terms used for seniors looking for “Retirement Home” are also on the rise with the top three searches being:
Retirement homes Houston (this is for searches across the U.S., not just Texas)
Best retirement communities
Using these terms on your own website and social media pages can help attract more seniors to your website and also provide much needed information to them regarding the top retirement communities in your area. Having a special seniors’ section on your website can also help them find you and see that you have a special interest in meeting their needs (Of course having your SRES® designation is even better).
Marketing to Seniors
Providing detailed information on your listings online such as virtual tours with captions, a link to your latest eflyers on your social media pages and even posting a community virtual tour on your YouTube channel will assist seniors in their house hunting efforts. You can also look for seniors’ articles and newsletters to share information that is relevant to their search and lifestyle.
Realtour’s marketing suite provides you with the tools you need to reach seniors. Setting up an account is free and you will have access to virtual tours with all the features that will meet the needs of seniors including posting your tours on YouTube. Realtour newsletters cover topics relevant to seniors helping you become a trusted resource they can trust. You can also use your eflyers and newsletter links to post information on Facebook.
Sources: Google/Ipsos, Pew