It can be a widely held view that senior generations, such as the over 65’s don’t embrace technology, either because they can’t get to grips with the technology, or simply don’t want to. Fortunately, both views are limiting beliefs and both are incorrect. Buying into this hype, or lack of it, can actually hamper your marketing if you sell a product or service to the ‘baby boomer’ generation.
In this article, we want to dispel some common myths using recent research, and show you how the over 65’s may become ‘power users’ of smartphones in the future.
Ofcom’s annual Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes report for 2017 shows striking growth in older people’s use of technology between 2015 and 2016. Baby boomers aged 65-74 are becoming increasingly more connected, with four in ten (39%) using a smartphone, up 11% in one year alone.
It isn’t just smartphone usage: some 48 per cent on online baby boomers aged 65-74 now have a social media profile, as do 41 per cent of over-75s, which is up from 19 per cent a year ago. And you thought social media was just for the ‘millennial’ generation?
Possibly the biggest takeaway from another recent study by mobiles.co.uk highlighted a key advantage for SMS Marketing in particular. Although smart phone usage has risen, and continued to rise, it isn’t the latest technology that is being used the most. The top five mobile phone uses by over 50s are:
We know text messages get read, but the research from mobiles.co.uk can give you further context to know that if you want to engage a senior demographic. Text message is still the marketing channel of choice. And it makes sense, as text messaging feels familiar. Our own recent research shows that SMS have more of a chance of being opened, over email, and this particular research supports those findings.
Any generalised ideas about senior generations and their tech 'know-how' isn't greeted well also, and rightly so. One of the participants noted how negative views may hold senior users back: “It is really quite saddening that generalisations such as ‘older people are confused by technology’ exist, as they often contribute to a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
Recent research from Deloitte also found a similar outcome, but highlighted exactly why the ‘silver swiper’ (their name, not ours!) will be of increased importance in the future.
From a commercial viewpoint it would be a big mistake to omit the ‘baby boomer’ generation from your online marketing. ‘Over half of the UK’s £11 trillion in wealth is owned by the baby boomer generation, currently aged 52-71, and half of the group have not yet reached retirement age.’
Deloitte also expects about a sixth of all smartphone users in this age group to become ‘power users’, which is defined as someone who checks their phone at least 25 times a day.
If you would like to see more research from any of the studies click on the links below.
Hi, I'm Connor, Operations Executive at Reach Interactive. I have a background in IT and business management and love learning about how companies can utilise new technologies to streamline their business processes.
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