Technology Usage Among Seniors

Does your business count senior adults among its customers? If so, technology can help you reach them – really! Seniors are the fastest-growing users of key technologies, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and social media – and strategic digital marketing can reach them there.

Baby boomers and other older adults get a bad rap when it comes to technology. In the early days of PCs, social media, and smartphones, senior adults were often more intimidated by this confusing modern movement. And yes, in the early days, most computers and other gadgets were more complicated. But advancements and improvements in ease of use, user comfort gained over time, and applications that are convenient and useful have resulted in greater technology usage, even among older adults.

According to a Pew Research Center report released in January 2022, “Adoption of key technologies by those in the [65 and older] age group has grown markedly since about a decade ago, and the gap between the oldest and youngest adults has narrowed.”

Of specific technology platforms, the survey found that nearly all people in the 18 to 29 age group own a smartphone, compared with 61% of those 65 and older. However, the gap has decreased – from a 53 percentage point difference in 2012 to 35 percentage point difference in 2022. The survey also showed that 83% of those 50 to 64 reported owning a smartphone. Of tablets, 53% of people ages 50 to 64 reported own a tablet, as did 44% of those 65 and older.

Of web usage, 96% of those 50 to 64 use the internet, as do 75% of people 65 and older. At the same time, however, older users don’t spend as much time online as younger users do. Pew Research said that “48% of those ages 18 to 29 said they were online “almost constantly,” compared with 22% of those 50 to 64 and 8% of those 65 and older.” The most-used site was YouTube, with its numbers growing among older adults as well. From 2019 to 2021, Americans ages 50 to 64 using YouTube increased from 70% to 83%; users ages 65 and older increased from 38% to 49%.

Social media usage

While people 65 and older used social media less than other age groups, Pew Research reported, older adults’ usage of sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram has increased: 45% reported using social media in 2021, a fourfold growth since 2010.

An April 2021 Pew Research Center report on social media usage found that while a majority of Americans say they use YouTube and Facebook, adults under 30 are more likely to use Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

What next?

If your business wants to reach this key demographic, digital advertising should be a part of your marketing plan. Whether you try a DIY approach or invest in a professional digital agency like Ross Media Solutions, technology can be your best friend.

Related: Use of Technology to Market Businesses to Seniors