Senior citizens are not often perceived as being a very tech-savvy group. However, if a handful of recent studies are to be believed, this perception may soon become outdated.
A study by the Pew Research Center reported that for the first time, more than half of American adults age 65 and older are using the Internet or email (53% of them to be exact). This represents a significant and rapid jump in usage after years without a major change.
Also of note, is what this age group is doing now that they are online. In 2009, only 13% of Internet users over 65 were using social networking sites. That number has increased by more than 150%, and 34% of users over 65 are now interacting on social platforms.
Another study by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) points to the fact that the quick adoption of cutting edge technology is not strictly a young man’s game. Tablet use skyrocketed in 2012, with 31% of Internet users now owning one of these devices, compared to only 12 percent in 2011. That growth has been largely driven by older and more affluent buyers according to the study.
In another area, web users over the age of 55 are actually outdoing web users under the age of 25. After analyzing password data from 70 million Yahoo accounts, computer scientists at the University of Cambridge discovered that passwords selected by older users are on average twice as strong as those selected by their younger peers.
So what does this mean for marketers? In short, it means that the Internet has by no means stagnated or stabilized, and that’s a good thing! Growth and change are signposts of opportunity. You just have to remember to pay attention to the changing tides.