Optimise your online shop for older users

Image of older person shopping onlineE-Commerce has been on the rise in New Zealand throughout the last decade. And it is no longer just the younger generations purchasing goods online. In 2021, 88 percent of the population aged between 16 and 64 had recently used the internet to search for products or services they wanted to buy. What’s more, the share of people actually shopping online was expected to reach 83% of all Kiwis by 2026.

People aged 40 to 65 now make up over a third of all online shoppers. Their spending increased by 20% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the same quarter the previous year. While the age group 65+ is smaller at present, it continues to grow and their online spending has seen significant increases over the last few years.

With this in mind, it becomes evident that older people should not be neglected regarding website design and functionality. Not only does the proportion of older people grow each year. Their proportion among online shoppers also continues to increase.

Research has proven that the needs of older consumers differ from those of younger generations. In general, older people tend to have more money to spend due to factors such as home ownership, life insurance payouts or savings accumulated throughout their lives. This money tends to be spent on different items compared to their younger counterparts, including luxury items, travel or long-term medication.


Considering the older when setting up your eCommerce store can significantly boost the number of visitors using your website and ultimately increase sales. There are specific challenges associated with the age group 65+ regarding internet usage that needs to be addressed.

Mental barriers

Because they may not be as confident in finding their way around the internet, older people tend to get frustrated easier trying to accomplish something online and give up quicker than their younger counterparts.

Physical barriers

Studies have shown that older people tend to be up to 40% slower when using the internet. They are also more likely to have eyesight impairments, potentially struggling with small website fonts and poorer short-term memory.

Optimizing for older users

The best way to overcome these barriers is by following best-practice guidelines when developing and designing your website. Focusing on user-friendliness, functionality and readability are factors that all age groups will benefit from. Including the older generation when running website tests is also highly recommendable.

In addition, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure older people find it easier to navigate around your eCommerce store.

Font size

Small fonts tend to be harder to read for many people, so choose your font size wisely and make it easy to change fonts when browsing your website. Every Call to Action should also be clearly visible in an easy-to-read font.


To further increase readability, there should be a good contrast between your background colour and the colour of your fonts. The same goes for the colour of hyperlinks. If they are not clearly distinguishable from the main text, users may miss out on valuable bits of extra information by overlooking them.


Offering a range of navigation options means providing all users with an option they feel comfortable with. Generally, roll-over menus are harder to use as those with mobility issues might find it challenging to navigate to the right space in order to reveal hidden menu items.

Knowing your audience

Whether or not you are catering for older generations will highly depend on your target audience. It is imminent that you know who you are trying to reach with your website and adjust its design (and content) accordingly. Bear in mind that today’s young people will be tomorrow’s older generation of eCommerce shoppers, so having a website that caters for all ages at any time is your best approach.

If you would like to find out whether your website is optimised for all ages or may need to have an overhaul, contact the friendly team at Energise Web today. We are highly experienced in web design and website development and offer a wide range of services including copywriting, SEO and advertising tailored to your target audience.


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