Five facts about older people and tech

In this blog, I share some insights about how to depict retirees in advertising and on websites.

Let’s ditch some stereotypes about older people and tech

Have you seen your grandma struggle to use a smart phone? Do you have her in mind when you are thinking about launching an app for your older customers?

By all means use that example if your target market is the same age as your grandma. But if Grannie is 80 and your target market is 60, I’d suggest that this not the right visual image for you. People who are in their sixties have been using digital resources for decades.

Be age-specific

When researching or marketing to this age group, be very specific about age. You wouldn’t say your target market was ‘children’, because that could mean anyone from a newborn to an 18 year old. You wouldn’t even say ‘all teenagers’ would you?

Here’s some data

So if your target market is pre or post-retirees in Australia then you can assume that they will have a smart phone. Actually, don’t assume. Check out the data that ACMA provide. In 2021, 87% of Australians aged 65 to 74 had a smart phone. Use of all devices does go down after the age of 75 though.

The devices and apps older people use

  • The vast majority of older Australians use a smart phone
  • Older Australians are familiar with Facebook, YouTube and Messenger but have relatively less experience with other apps or social media sites.
  • They are more likely to have accessed the internet by phone than via a laptop, and more likely to have recently used a laptop than a desktop computer.
  • Older people use the internet for all the things you‘d expect them to – email, banking, browsing and shopping.
  • The biggest difference between younger and older people is that older people were – in 2021 – less likely to have posted or engaged with content than younger people, less likely to have video conferenced and less likely to have sold goods online.

Meet them where they are at

When marketing to this age group, the thing to remember is ‘meet them where they are at’.  If they think in terms of Facebook, use the language of Facebook to talk to them about tech.

Remember too that older people – generally – have bigger vocabularies than younger people and lots of real world experience to draw on.

How to research this market

  • The first step when researching this market is to be specific about the age of your target market.
  • Second, make sure that the sample contains a mix of people from different backgrounds.
  • Make sure that you test the language, not just navigation.
  • Allow people to test the tech just as they would in real life. If they take notes when learning new tech in real life, let them to do that in the test.

Contact us for more insights into how older people buy and use products and services.

Susan Bell Founder & Lead Consultant
Sue Bell, Founder & Lead Consultant

We would love to hear from you, and are always happy to talk through research methods and options with you, if you are not sure what you need. Why not get in touch for a free, obligation-free, and confidential conversation.

Find out more about Susan Bell Research.

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