It’s always good when reputable companies wake up to the opportunities presented by the ageing consumer, even if it is under the banner of “New, Unconventional Insights” as pronounced in Gartner’s press release.
Check out the accompanying video.
My favourite quote from Gartner: “Technologists, designers and marketers must refocus to seize this crucial opportunity. They have created and sold products targeted explicitly at an already-saturated market of financially poor “digital natives” in Generations X and Y. This emphasis on the young is unsurprising, since many technologists are themselves part of these younger age groups. However, it is a very serious mistake, because it neglects the most promising technology market demographic of all: the affluent, increasingly technologically sophisticated older generation we are calling the ‘silver surfers’.”
The Garrtner study points to some key factors that are driving adoption of technology and technology-enabled capabilities by older individuals:
Government policy – many government agencies and nongovernmental organizations – including the World Health Organization and the European Commission – are recognizing the growing numbers of older people and are developing policies to improve the lifestyle of older individuals.
Improved connectivity – the growing penetration of broadband, Wi-Fi and other forms of readily available connectivity is making technologies more attractive to silver surfers.
New technologies – the emergence of assisted-living technologies – for the disabled or those with other medical issues – is proving highly attractive for older individuals, as are widely available video technologies that make it possible for them to keep in close contact with family and friends.
Social networks and targeted forums – in many parts of the world, older individuals represent one of the most important user segments for various types of social networks, microblogging services and other forms of online interaction.
The desire for social interaction – perhaps the most important factor of all in influencing silver surfers to adopt and engage technology is the need for increased connections with others. Recent generations of older people have increasingly found themselves isolated, living apart from their families, as past generations rarely did. Smartphones, social media, photo-sharing platforms and many other technologies hold out the very real promise of bringing them into closer contact with the larger world, and silver surfers clearly recognize their potential.
I delivered a speech at the Web in Travel conference a few weeks ago on exactly the same subject.