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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tablets (flat screen variety) and older people in the news




Ofcom published its annual update about how us Brits are (or not) consuming data in one form or another and what equipment we are using.  The title is Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes Report

Its a long, long report and its free so I suggest you download it since it contains a lot about the differences between age groups.

The finding that made the national press the  next day is about the number of adults using tablets to go online. This number has almost doubled; from 16% in 2012 to 30% in 2013. While almost all age-groups are more likely than previously to use tablets those aged 35-64 has doubled, while use by 65-74s has trebled; from 5% to 17%.

At the very end of the report there is a section about new, narrow and non-users of the internet. This provides good insights into those with limited or no use of the Internet - mainly older people.

On the same day there was an article in Marketing Magazine that was based on a blog posting by Grant Feller from GF-Media titled : "Keep Taking The Tablets: The Panacea For The Over-40s"

His contention is that for a large part of the population, especially the older type who felt technology was passing them by, the tablet has been a transformative tool.  The three pieces of evidence he quotes are:

1. Rupert Murdoch revealed that readers of The Times on tablet – typically aged 35-65 - stay with the publication longer than when in print. This provides more time to sell to them.

2. Women’s clothing line Bonmarche – which specialises in catering for older customers - has recorded extraordinary sales figures, a 13.5% rise for the first quarter of 2014. This in the same period when rivals are recording ever-deepening losses.  Bonmarche customers are big users of tablets.

3. Pew Internet research revealed that more over-55s own tablets than smartphones. Of course this is US research but always a good guide.

To be honest I think there are much stronger reasons to support the argument, like the Ofcom report. Whatever, the conclusion is absolutely right. If you want to be successful in engaging older people then your tablet strategy had better be good. Dick Stroud

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