Seniors and Technology Statistics
They may not be attached to their phones the way teens or millennials are, but seniors are definitely getting more comfortable with smartphones. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & Technology 2017 data states four in ten seniors currently own smartphones — more than double the share that did so in 2013.
And though the Center has only been tracking internet adoption for just under two decades, the percentage of internet users 65 and up has risen dramatically — from 14% (in early 2000) to 67% today.
They’re not likely to surpass millennial usage anytime soon, but these numbers will probably continue in an upward direction. Older adults are embracing technology. They’re branching out on social media. They’re using apps. And the industry is responding with streamlined tech that matches older adults’ interests, preferences, and needs.
Let’s break down the digital divide between the generations who grew up with technology versus the ones who watched the industry grow:
Seniors and Technology Use: How They Access It
Because they’ve lived most of their life without it, the majority of senior tech users are self-taught, like 102-year-old Rose Wong, whose granddaughter interviewed her for a piece on senior tech use that appeared in The Guardian. She bought her first computer when she was 82. A few years ago, her granddaughters bought her an iPad, but the steady hand a touchscreen requires was problematic for Rose.
Today’s tech isn’t always designed with centenarians like Rose in mind. Enter GreatCall’s line of products — especially the Jitterbug Smart, which features a 5.5” screen and voice typing — designed specifically for those later life adopters to ease into the handheld world.
Seniors and Technology Use: What They are Doing with It
Rose Wong shops for clothes online (she hates cramped dressing rooms), but she’s wary of social media, as granddaughter and writer Julia reports. But that doesn’t mean all seniors are anti-Facebook: in fact, there’s a social media network — called Stitch.net — that’s exclusively for boomers and seniors (the site’s tagline reads “Friendship, Activities, Travel and Romance for mature adults”).
Networks like Stitch reflect the lead boomers are taking on social media adoption: according to Pew data, 45% of the under age 75 crowd use it, compared to 20% of those over age 75.
Whether they’re looking for online newspapers from their hometown in Italy, following the news and weather, or connecting with fellow alums from their alma mater, boomers and seniors are getting online — and loving it. And GreatCall offers more than just a browser for online window shopping or a place to upload a senior dating profile: any of GreatCall’s products — including the internet-ready Jitterbug Smart — offer 5Star emergency service, adding a layer of security and independence the kids will approve of.
Sources: pewinternet.org, techcrunch.com, adweek.com