Many think of senior citizens as telling stories about “back in the day” – a time before the internet existed. However, a new eMarketer report indicates that seniors (age 65 and older) are increasingly participating in online activities. Moreover, as tech-savvy baby boomers come of age, the online senior audience is becoming a marketing target brands shouldn't ignore.
“Internet penetration is expected to rise among seniors and the overall online senior population will increase dramatically, making this an important growth demographic for marketers,” said Mike Froggart, a research analyst for eMarketer.
As of 2011, eMarketer estimates that nearly half (47 percent) of the senior population is already online. Senior citizens' adoption of the internet is poised for steady growth over the next several years. The firm predicts that by 2015 there will be more than 26 million senior citizens using the internet via desktops and/or mobile devices.
Indeed, mobile adoption is already common among the 65 and older crowd. EMarketer claims that 69 percent of seniors own a mobile phone. While the firm says seniors are less likely to browse the mobile internet than younger audiences, it anticipates the number of senior mobile internet users will grow.
Marketers who want to connect with seniors on the web might consider reaching out to them via social networks. EMarketer says that nearly one-third of seniors currently use some form of social media.
Brafton has reported that seniors are rapidly adopting social networks, and offering this mature audience fresh, updated content is advised. According to research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, consumers over the age of 50 check social networks each day. Moreover, 42 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds and 34 percent of internet users 65 and older get news online each day. Sharing frequently updated headlines via social channels might engage this audience.