Older Adults want Technology on their own terms

The elderly are already responsible for driving Web growth, after all the internet offers users a huge range of benefits for this age group – from keeping in touch with family and friends, to making financial transactions to even getting online shopping delivered. They are however, sometimes struggling getting to grips with the latest mobile devices. Sometimes technological improvements frequently misses the mark with regards to a certain demographic. Particularly in this instance, there’s a discrepancy between exactly what elderly perceive as helpful tech advancements in comparison to younger generations.

There is a plethora of good examples – like tablets, computer systems or smartphones. While the youthful consumer cannot functionality without any of the above mentioned items, many older citizens won’t use them, even heading so far as ignoring the various tech options when it’s presented for them. Why? Because they want technology on their own terms. This might explain why desktops are popular among the age group. The elderly consumer is also frustrated by the usability of today’s technology. Many struggle to cope with small screens and confusing menus and difficult typing options. Try explaining the benefits of rooting or jailbreaking a device to the elderly uninitiated.

A 2013 research study suggested that Product manufacturers, electronics retailers and senior service providers continue to miss the mark when it comes to reaching an audience with spending power and an increasing interest in crossing the Great Digital Divide. But that’s slowly changing, and a new generation is subtly driving the technology industry for themselves, their families and professional caregivers. The study reveals a generation of older adults using technology based on personal preferences, physical and logistical limitations and health concerns. It also identifies issues encountered while shopping the category, and the factors influencing purchase decisions.

Key takeaways include:

  • Transitionals” — a demographic mix of Depression-era Silent Generation and early Boomers — are the driving force behind product usage and expectations formerly the realm of younger consumers.
  • Children and grandchildren remain top influencers for education, purchase recommendations and even repairs.
  • Too many retirement and active adult communities maintain dated infrastructures, with limited Wi-Fi that hinders personal, aging in place, and healthcare technology applications.
  • Understanding differences between similar products such as cameras, laptops and smartphones is a challenge.
  • Tablets are slowly replacing newspapers, magazines, books, cameras and even musical instruments.
  • Internet browsing and shopping are now leisure activities, and many are influenced by mobile content.
  • Interest in apps leans to those providing health-related information.