The smartphone generation gap
Over 55? There’s no app for that
The difference in smartphone penetration by age is sure to shrink, as it is now becoming almost impossible to buy a feature phone. However, in 2014 there will still be substantial differences in how individual age groups use their phones. In particular, many seniors will likely continue to use their smartphones like feature phones: getting these older users to exploit the data functions is a large opportunity for network operators.
Over a quarter of adults in developed countries will soon be 55 or older. The attractiveness of this 55+ age group has long been recognized: with longer life expectancy, older consumers are likely to continue working, accumulate an ever-greater share of global wealth and be increasingly interested in technology. This age group – which over the medium term will continue growing in absolute numbers and share of adults – is likely to control a large proportion of disposable income in their countries. As such, they are not just an untapped market; they are a lucrative untapped market.
For mobile operators, targeting the over-55s could be particularly effective. Carriers should ensure that all aspects of service — from the structure and explanation of tariff plans, to customer service — are appropriate for this group