August 11, 2010

Because I do a lot of research and consulting in the retirement industry (www.dennettgroup.com ), I’m often asked if seniors own computers and are they internet “connected.”  The short answer, yes.  But the surprising answer is, they are becoming computer owners and internet users at rates faster than any other age group.
A Bureau of Labor Statistics Report points out that as of 2008, 77% of households owned a computer – up from 48% in 2000 – a 62% increase. As you might expect, householders aged 35 to 44 are most likely to own a computer (84%). http://www.bls.gov/opub/focus/volume1_number4/cex_1_4.htm

But now comes the “wow” statistic. While only 42% of householders aged 75+ own a computer, this is up from 13% in 2000 – a 300% increase. Also, this report only reveals who “owns” a computer, not if grandma or grandpa uses the kid’s or family’s computer.  

Here’s some other interesting statistics from recent studies: Seniors spend the most time talking to family members on the phone, and they are the fastest growing segment of consumers signing up for FaceBook accounts.  (http://www.newstrategist.com/store/index.cfm/product/19_2/american-time-use-who-spends-how-long-at-what-2nd-ed.cfm 

Bottom-line: While seniors love talking on the phone, they are quickly embracing computers and the internet. So, if you are planning to reach your customer, you’d better be able to do it online too, no matter what age they are.

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