BOSTON: A full 90% of American women aged 45 and over search for items online via Google or other search engines before making a purchase, a new report has found.

And a similar proportion has a Facebook account and use text messages, according to a joint survey conducted by Influence Central, the digital consultancy, and Vibrant Nation, an online community for women aged 45 and more.

Based on responses from 600 American women of this age who do not have children living at home, Influence Central suggested this "Empty-Nester" generation is far more digitally savvy than conventional thinking assumes.

It found nearly 80% are more likely to make a purchase if a product receives a high-star rating in a retail ecommerce review while nearly 75% respond in the same manner if a product receives a positive first-person review.

Furthermore, nearly half (45%) are more likely to purchase a product if it is recommended by a blogger they follow.

In another sign of how much this generation has adapted to new technology and social media, the study found more than 80% spend more time browsing for products online than in a physical store.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) use their smartphone to research product information while 72% use them to visit social media sites, the report said.

Stacy DeBroff, CEO of Influence Central, advised marketers to recognise that there is now a "profound disconnect" between how this generation sees itself and how it is viewed by others.

"Today's Empty-Nesters feel confident, tech-savvy, and highly connective online, yet marketers still stereotype them as passively consuming traditional media and swept up in advertising," she said.

With the report demonstrating the importance of first- and third-person reviews for this generation, Influence Central warned that nearly two-thirds (65%) are sceptical about traditional advertising and just 12% are more likely to purchase a product highlighted in a compelling ad.

"Empty-Nesters are embracing social media and today's online recommendation culture, ignoring and disliking advertising, and completely redefining their consumer journey," DeBroff said.

Data sourced from Influence Central; additional content by Warc staff