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November 8, 2016updated 27 Jan 2022 2:42pm

Big brands too quick to neglect the over 55s digital consumer influence

By Ana Gyorkos

In a world where Generation Y is confronted with more and more technology, choices have become somewhat incalculable. While the concept of digitalising lifestyles has become synonyms with millennials, seniors are often forgotten — yet GlobalData finds this is a mistake.

Today’s seniors are embracing a digital change. While they may be late adopters of digital trends as opposed to their younger counterparts,GlobalData’s Canadean  global survey has shown that 57 percent of over-55s globally already own a smartphone, proving that the majority are engaged in smart technologies.

Neglecting this group of consumers overlooks the opportunity to engage with a significant portion of individuals who are already tech-savvy and willing to learn.

While today’s digital divide is often assumed to be underpinned by age with seniors unlikely to adopt new technologies, this may not always be the case.

Research suggests that 79 percent of global consumers over the age of 55 read reviews and posts across Facebook and Twitter, while a further 72 percent follow brand news and updates across social media. An additional 41 percent post reviews about goods and services, with 40 percent claiming they are more likely to trust user reviews over brand claims.

It is evident that noteworthy trends already exist amongst the over 55s. When asked if they used digital tools (including smartphone apps and wearable devices) to manage their personal health and finances, only 12 percent claimed they use it to manage their weight. However, a further 33 percent said they would consider using it in the future. Exercise and fitness are measured by 12 percent of over-55s, with 32 percent indicating they would also consider it in the future. Spending habits are managed and monitored by 14 percent, with 32 percent claiming they would consider measuring it through technology at some point.

So what does this all mean? Tapping into the knowledge of an older generation’s interest in technology may be something that has traditionally been ignored, but the new silver shouldn’t be overlooked. Seniors are undoubtedly engaged in the digital environment and these figures are only set to rise.

The data signifies a palpable interest in tracking health and fitness by the over 55s, and present an opportunity to harness wearable and digital tools to manage health and finances.

In return, perhaps we’ll no longer need to begrudge our elder relatives in need of a little bit of support in the digital world.