The graying of the internet
While in far fewer numbers than their younger counterparts, the population of seniors going online is expanding and those that do are active participants in the cyber world.
According to new data from the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of seniors (defined as those ages 65 or older) report they go online — a six percent increase in the course of a year — and 47 percent have a high-speed broadband connection at home. In addition, 77 percent of older adults have a cell phone, up from 69 percent in April 2012.
Internet use and broadband adoption among seniors each fall off notably starting at approximately age 75. Older adults also face several unique barriers and challenges when it comes to adopting new technologies, including physical and learning challenges as well as skeptical attitudes about the benefits of technology.
Still, most seniors who become internet users make visiting the digital world a regular occurrence. Among older adults who use the internet, 71 percent go online every day or almost every day, and an additional 11 percent go online three to five times per week.
These older internet users also have strongly positive attitudes about the benefits of online information in their personal lives. Fully 79 percent of older adults who use the internet agree with the statement that "people without internet access are at a real disadvantage because of all the information they might be missing," while 94 percent agree with the statement that "the internet makes it much easier to find information today than in the past."
Other findings from the study:
- Among seniors with an annual household income of $75,000 or more, 90 percent go online and 82 percent have broadband at home. For seniors earning less than $30,000 annually, 39 percent go online and 25 percent have broadband at home.
- Fully 87 percent of seniors with a college degree go online, and 76 percent have broadband. Among seniors who have not attended college, 40 percent go online and just 27 percent have broadband.
- Twenty-seven percent of the total older adult population (46 percent of online seniors) use social networking sites such as Facebook, and these social network adopters have more persistent social connections with the people they care about;
- Older Adults and Technology Use – Pew Research
- Mobile Goes Universal: New Survey Shows Older Generations Embrace Mobile as Local Shopping Companion – Thrive Analytics
- Internet Use and Depression Among Retired Older Adults in the United States: A Longitudinal Analysis – The Journals of Gerontology
Does the marketing community overall seem to over- or under estimate the opportunity targeting online seniors? In what categories do you expect them to have the strongest online influence?