Though senior citizens use the internet and social media about twenty-seven percent less than the average American adult, the use of technology in this demographic is steadily increasing. According to an article on MarketingProfs, the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that fifty-nine percent of Americans sixty-five and older now go online. In addition to this, almost half report having a high speed internet connection, and over three fourths of those surveyed have a mobile phone. The over sixty-five demographic is using the internet more and more, and should not go unnoticed by marketers. Although they use this technology less than average, their usage is steadily increasing.

How demographics impact internet usage

  • The Pew study showed that young, wealthy, highly-educated individuals tend to use the internet at higher rates. This applies to educated and senior citizens with higher incomes as well.
  • Additionally, the older senior citizens reported using technology less, and the Pew study found that there is a dramatic drop in internet usage after age 75.

Tablet and cell phone usage

  • Many senior citizens have tablets and smart phones as well. Among the average adult population, smartphones are much more common than tablets. However, tablets are more common among the elderly population.
  • Twenty-seven percent of senior citizens own a tablet or e-reader while only eighteen percent own a cell phone.
  • Though the proportion of older Americans that use tablets over cell phones is greater than most adults, the average adult still uses both devices at a higher rate.
  • Fifty-five percent of adults, overall, own a smart phone and about forty-three percent own a tablet or e-reader.

Social media usage

  • Social media has been a growing trend for senior citizens. About twenty-seven percent of all adults over sixty-five use at least one social networking site, and forty-six percent of elderly individuals who use the internet are on a social network.

Older Americans have often been left out of the discussion when it comes to internet or social media usage; however, they are active participants in both these technologies. Senior citizens go online with increasing frequency, but are a largely ignored demographic.

Although these individuals use the internet and smartphones less than the average adult, their use is continually increasing. Healthcare PR and marketing professionals might effectively target this segment by advertising and promoting their brands on digital platforms.

If you’re in healthcare, insurance, technology or other professional services industries, and need help with a PR, marketing or social media campaign, contact Scott Public Relations.

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