Today's senior citizens aren't your father's senior citizens. They're not puttering around their homes in housecoats, with belts set just below their chests, knitting to the radio hits of yesterday, spouting things like, "Well isn't that nice, deary" and "You kids get off my lawn!" Today's seniors are savvy and growing savvier each year. They're not afraid of technology and they embrace the digital world. Today's seniors use the internet.
This shouldn't be too surprising. Those 65 and older grew up on rock and roll. They went to Woodstock. They turned on, tuned in, and dropped out. These were relaxed and groovy people open to new experiences and new ways of seeing the world.
Today's seniors were the first generation to embrace household electronics. They were there for the adoption of email in the workplace. They adapted as typewriters gave way to word processors and word processors gave way to computers. They had VCRs, and they weren't afraid to use them!
Bill Gates is one year away from being a senior citizen. Steve Jobs would have been, too. Ray Tomlinson, the inventor of email, was 74 when he passed in 2016. TCP/IP developers Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn are 76 and 80, respectively. And Leonard Kleinrock, the maverick that created packet switching, a bedrock internet technology, is 85 years old. Not only do seniors use the internet, but they invented it, too!
Seniors Use the Internet in Numbers That Might Surprise You
Here are some eye-opening statistics that should finally relieve you of the notion that today's seniors are Luddites that wrap themselves in doilies to keep technology at bay.
Internet usage among seniors is climbing steadily year upon year. Currently, in 2019, 73% of seniors use the internet. In 2017 the number was closer to 67%, but drilling down into the data we can see that usage was much higher than this statistic suggests.
Among those 65 to 69, 82% used the internet. 75% of 70 to 74-year-olds were online. Even those aged 75-79 were internet users 60% of the time. Only the oldest seniors, those 80 and above drop below 50%.
Social media use among seniors is growing at a similar pace. Nearly half of all seniors use Facebook. This is up nearly 11% from figures published just four years previously.
Seniors are adopting mobile technology as well. As of the date this post, more than half of Americans 65 years and older own a smartphone. That's up from 18% just six years earlier. In certain demographics, seniors are adopting smartphones at the highest rate of any age group.
If Your Business Isn't Online, Your Customers Won't Find You
Remember, 73% of seniors use the internet.
If you manufactured sprockets, and you discovered that 73% of your potential customers search for sprockets at Sprocket Shack wouldn't you bend over backward to get your products on their shelves? Why then would you not put equal effort into getting your business in front of your prospects' eyes when they're looking for you on the internet or Facebook?
If your business counts seniors as a fairly large percentage of your customer base and you don't have a mobile-friendly website and a social media presence, you're likely missing out on a large amount of potential business.
Seniors aren't looking for you in the Yellow Pages anymore. They may still catch the odd radio or TV spot, but increasingly seniors use the internet, and that's where they're searching for the businesses they need.
It's important to remember that these trends will only continue to increase as younger people age into seniors citizen status. By 2050 it's estimated that the percentage of the population aged 65 and older will double from where it is now. Not only do you need a website to connect with current seniors, but you also need to be prepared for the coming hordes.
Puget Tech Can Help
We can build you a new website or mobile app, or update and modernize your existing presence to better connect with your critical markets. We know what search engines are looking for, and we can optimize your web presence to precisely target the seniors that are increasingly trying to find you online. The ROI of a properly-crafted website makes the decision a no-brainer.
Don't be the company that opted not to run radio ads when seniors adopted radio or the organizations that poo-pooed TV advertising when seniors moved to television. Seniors are a powerful segment of the market. They have money and they're looking to spend it. Don't get in the way of them giving it to you.
Let Puget Tech help you claim your share.