New research from communications regulator Ofcom has found the number of seniors accessing the internet has risen by over 25 per cent in the past year. The finding, from the Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report, is predominantly a result of the increase of older people using tablet computers; rising from five per cent in 2012 to 17 per cent in 2013.
Overall, the report found that 42 per cent of people aged over 65 were active online (an increase of nine per cent from the previous year). According to the study, browsing websites and email were the two most common activities for seniors, while just a third of this age group used social media. Older people were also becoming more comfortable with smartphones, with 20 per cent of those aged 65-74 stating their preference for modern mobile technology; a rise of eight per cent from 2012.
Online businesses will be interested to read that half of this age group used the internet to shop online, while three per cent did so on their mobile phone; statistics which highlight the growing need to cater for the older online browser.
Indeed, a report from 2013 by market research company Conlumino found that the over-55 demographic would contribute to a 2.4 per cent rise in retail growth over the next ten years. Speaking in February, Neil Saunders from Conlumino said that retailers would need to be prepared to woo the older generation:
“The older shopper of tomorrow is very different from today. They are a lot more savvy and demanding in terms of customer services and they are more attuned to fashion trends which they want adapted to suit their age bracket.”
With this in mind, retailers should be prepared to evolve their online presence in order to meet the demands of older shoppers. This might include anything from more-accessible website navigation to easier-to-access customer service for returns or product enquiries.
You can follow numero on Twitter for more insight from the Ofcom report into Adult’s Media Use and Attitudes, as well as further investigation into evolving consumer trends and behaviours.