In today’s digital age, almost everyone has turned to the internet for a variety of purposes. People of all ages, from infants to seniors, use the internet for entertainment and information. Did we say seniors? Yes, you heard it right. With the rise of the aging population in different societies, a new image of people over the age of 65 is emerging- they are more active, more educated, ethnically diverse, and are not in a rush to retire. Seniors are also starting to create an impression in the digital world despite their slow start in embracing technology. In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center last year among 3,015 adults aged beyond 65, a substantial increase in the percentage of American seniors are now active users of the internet with 67% compared to just 12% in 2000.
The ownership of smartphones among adults with ages 65 and up has also steadily risen through the years, with four in ten seniors now owning smartphones compared to just 18% in 2013. With the increase in smartphone ownership and internet usage among the seniors, more of them are also heading towards social media with 34% of seniors now engaged in sites like Facebook and Twitter. While factors such as age, education, and income contribute to the various behaviors of seniors regarding social media use, a high concentration of social media users are among seniors with ages between 65-69 (47%), seniors with college degrees (20%), and seniors with household incomes starting from $75k and above (57%) compared to their other counterparts.
While most seniors are still disconnected from the digital world with one-third of American adults aged 65 and above saying they never use the internet, the steady rise in internet adoption among the elderly continues to provide promising figures when it comes to staying relevant in the digital age. Older adults also have a positive view towards the digital revolution, with 58% believing that the technology has given a positive effect on society. 49% of older adults also find it “important” to have access to high-speed internet.
Drawing from these figures, the shift towards the increasing tech adoption among seniors is an interesting change that will cause ripples not just in technology itself but also among consumer behaviors and marketing. Elderly consumers have always been the least prioritized when it comes to marketing for retailers and consumer goods, but the increasing number of seniors and the changes in behavioral patterns from lifestyle to consumption among the demographic is a potential factor companies must tap to maximize growth.
According to Jaana Reemes, partner of the McKinsey Global Institute, a worldwide management consulting firm, “Older folks are relatively high spenders because they have high incomes in developed economies. The downturn of the past ten years has hit them much less than it has hit many in the younger segment, particularly the new entrants to the labor market. Their consumption spending is still relatively high. Even a smaller group in this larger pool can be very attractive.”
If you want to run a successful Google Adwords campaign or develop an effective marketing strategy, it’s best to consider and target older demographics, as it is evident that they are a largely untapped consumer market.