Need To Boost Holiday Sales? Go After Female Boomers On Pinterest

Big data is fun when it actually tells you something useful. Once again, the holiday season (wasn’t it just the 4th of July?) is upon us, a time when businesses great and small shamelessly troll around for last-minute innovative ways to drum up sales. Sound all too familiar? No worries; have I got a solution for you. If your company happens to count female Baby Boomers among its target audience, you need to set up an account on Pinterest asap (if you haven’t already) and start marketing the heck out of it. Let me explain why.

For starters, Pinterest is the hot new social platform. With over 10 million users and counting, it has been enjoying considerable month-on-month growth in 2012. But who are all these rabid converts?

According to data from Google DoubleClick Ad Planner, they are mostly women (79%), and mostly older (63% are ages 35 and up).

In fact, a recent post by eMarketer highlights data from Compete showing just over one-third (34%) of all Pinterest users are between the ages of 45-64; this roughly corresponds to the current Baby Boomer demographic (aged 48-66 years). Big deal, you might say, so older females are hip to pinning.

But wait, I’m just getting started.

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The eMarketer post also references February 2012 survey data from blog network BlogHer showing that 47% of female Pinterest users had gone on to make a purchase based on recommendations received on the site, compared to just 33% of Facebook or 31% of Twitter users. Furthermore, according to Ecommerce solution provider Steelhouse, 59% of Pinterest users have purchased an item after seeing it on the site. Therefore, if approximately 80% of these users are women, we can extrapolate that around 47% of female users have purchased an item they saw on Pinterest.

Admittedly, this does not necessarily mean they made a purchase online that day. But it does mean they made one either online or offline eventually (which is the goal, right gang?).


Here’s why this data excites me (yes, data can excite me- how sad is that). When you factor in the findings of our friends at Nielson, Boomers are numerous, and they have both time and money to spend online:

  • There are currently 80 million Baby Boomers in the US, representing 33% of all online and social users; the same number (33%) shop online. In fact, the 50+ segment alone spends over $7 billion when online.
  • Younger Boomers are online an average of 29 hours per month, with older boomers (65+) spending 22 hours per month on a computer.
  • Boomers say that the Internet is their primary source of intelligence when comparison shopping for major purchases.

Here’s the best part- Boomers have disposable income. How much? According to the Nielson study, in five years, close to 50% of the U.S. adult population will be 50 and older, and they will control 70% of the country’s disposable income. This is only partly due to the fact that these folks will be inheriting $15 trillion over the next 20 years. Yikes.

Taken as a whole, Boomers are not cheap (although I know more than a few who are). As the Nielson study puts it (and I quote), “Boomers spend the most money, and they spend what they make.”

If you’re a business owner or marketer, you’ve got to love hearing that.


So what’s the bottom line? Pinterest is dominated by women (80%). Many of these women have purchased an item after seeing it on the site. A large segment of Pinterest users (approx 33%) are Baby Boomers.

If you take the 80% number, about 26% of all Pinterest users are then female Baby Boomers (loose math, but still). This equates to over 2.5 Million female Boomers. Many of these female Boomers have money to spend, and (if you believe the Nielson survey) they’re not afraid to spend it.

This brief argument may not be enough for some businesses to finally pull the trigger on Pinterest; but hey, you can’t win ‘em all. Besides, that leaves more female Boomers for the rest of us.



Comments: 2

  • I think that big data is a powerful tool if you know how to sort out what’s important from what’s not.. and interpret data accordingly. Do you think that Pinterest is only great for those in retail? Like, if you’re into an accounting business, you’d fare well in using other sites instead as Pinterest is visually-oriented. It’s intriguing how more women are hanging out on that site; I wonder just how you can attract more male demographic there. Thanks!

    • Shaleen,

      I couldn’t agree more! Actually, I honed in on retail specifically because it is topical with the US holiday season approaching, and I found the thesis about female boomers interesting. Having said that, I am a huge believer that every brand should be on Pinterest, period. It gives brands a chance to connect to their target audience on a deeper level through visual engagement. Moreover, a company can embed video and link to its other web-based content marketing resources to attract like-minded prospects to its company site.

      With regard to men, I wrote a piece a while back using data from Compete that showed men are actually more likely to complete a purchase after viewing a product on Pinterest by a roughly 2 to 1 margin over women (

      Granted, owing to the fact that there are fewer men on the Pinterest site, the total number of male purchasers is still lower than women. However, this anecdotal evidence suggests that if more men were to engage with Pinterest, they’d perhaps be the leading drivers of purchase.

      As to how you make this come about, alas, that is left for another blog (which you may have just inspired)…

      Thanks for your useful insight!

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