Real Seniors are rightfully skeptical about technology such as smartphones. Surveys are world-renown as the foundation for design/marketing of the technological marvels – but they don’t include real seniors. Here’s the pitch to investment groups, the board of directors, the distribution partners, the audience. Yet for the oldest adult markets and product segments that need seniors, the real seniors – those individuals aged 75+ are rarely surveyed. At least as far as we can tell, because their responses are dumped, clumped and lumped into the 65+ group.
The mission of Link-age breaks the mold and surveys the very old. And this matters – life expectancy lengthens, and so does the market for offerings that meet the need of older adults. Since 2011, the organization has fielded surveys of older adults about their use of technology. First they fielded a paper survey (2011) that revealed interest but little ownership – 70% of the 1789 responders were over the age of 75. Then in 2013, Next Generation Response Systems received 1114 survey responses, 53% of the responders to another paper survey were over the age of 75. In both of these surveys, smartphones were not, uh, popular among the oldest group.
It’s 2016 – Link-age fielded another survey, expectations about technology have changed. This time 401 older adults are surveyed via an e-mailed link, again more than half are aged 75+. While smartphone ownership has grown, it is still obvious that as age range rises past 75, smartphone ownership drops – and the comments sharpen from individuals aged 80+: “Life is NOT a constant emergency. With navigation systems, no one has any idea where they are in relation to the world.” And this: “In spite of all the advances out there, it is virtually ruining our youth’s manners.” But also: “It’s the future…I have not wanted to be left behind.”
Look at your smartphone – carefully. Put on your (mental) age suit. Imagine it is you who has had an easy-to-use clamshell phone that enables you to get a call and a text message from a family member. Now pick up your smartphone – that device that does triple duty as a camera, calorie counter, map, search engine, newspaper, note taker, calculator, music player and wake-up alarm. For starters. Remember that 50% of the 75+ population (Pew) is now online, compared to 7% online fifteen years ago. Why don’t they want this remarkable device? “New gadgets seem to be programmed by young people who assume that the user will know what to do in a confusing situation.” Exactly.
Read Article (Laurie Orlov | ageinplacetech.com | 04/15/2016)
While Pew Research reports how senior smartphone ownership has grown, many seniors explain the high tech devices they own were gifts from family members but they remain in their boxes, unused.
And while marketing has failed to include real seniors in their survey’s, they should be paying attention to another statistic: “Senior Citizens control about 33% of the wealth in United States, and miss-representing them in survey’s “does not show them Respect.”
Shame on the entire industry.
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