Digital age divide is a 'myth'

26 May 2014
LONDON: Confidence in technology and internet usage is as high among the 50+ generation as it is among 30-49 year olds, according to new research which challenges the stereotype that older people are averse to new technology.

Based on the responses of 1,012 UK consumers (aged 30+), "The Ageless Internet: From Silver Surfers to Golden Geeks" report from iProspect, a digital marketing company, also confirmed the 50+ age group is strongly engaged in e-commerce.

Furthermore, Britons aged over 50 do not see age as a barrier to online activity, they access the internet more often, are regular social media users and use multiple mobile devices, the report found.

A full 80% of 50-59 year olds believe their age is no barrier to using the internet and expect to use it more in the future, a figure that rises to 88% of 60-69 year olds and as many as 92% of respondents aged 70 and more.

Interestingly, the study also revealed that internet usage increases with age, with 63% of over-70s spending 11-30 hours per week online compared with 47% of 60-69 year olds, 43% of 50 -59 year olds and 39% of the 30-49 age bracket.

"Silver surfers" are open to e-commerce and the report said there is no difference between consumers aged 30 and those aged 70+ when it comes to general attitudes to online shopping – three in four across all age groups see it as more convenient.

However, older generations tend to engage more in "reverse showrooming" – the practice of researching online before completing a purchase in-store.

The study found 30% of 50-59 year olds engage in this activity, the Drum reported, while very few across all age groups practice "showrooming" – only 7% of 30-49 year olds and 5% of over 50s research in-store and then buy elsewhere online.

The different generations also share a similarly relaxed approach to data security, the report said, with 66% of 30-49 year olds and 69% of respondents aged 60+ agreeing that data security is not a barrier to online shopping.

"A patronising approach to older generations needs to be put to rest. 50+ feel they are just as confident and as digitally savvy as younger generations," concluded Chris Whitelaw, CEO of iProspect.

He said the only reason younger generations have shown more advanced digital media behaviour up until now is because older generations have been late adopters, meaning an internet user's stage of adoption is more relevant than age itself.

Data sourced from iProspect, The Drum; additional content by Warc staff
Share with a colleague
Your email address
Your colleague’s email address
Comment (max 150 characters)