Older consumers are being left behind in India's mobile market. No surprise.

Only 6 percent of mobile users in India, and just 1 percent of mobile data users, are over 50 years of age.

This according to a survey by Norway-based telecom major Telenor as reported here.

What’s more, only 10 percent of Telenor’s 45.6 million subscribers in India are over 45 years of age! To put the penetration numbers into perspective, 8.8 percent of India’s population is 60+ (2015).

Is there any wonder? Mobile marketers are amongst the most ageist. Most mobile devices, software and marketing are so youth-focussed it’s a wonder that any older consumers can be sold on the relevance of mobile internet in their lives.indian_couple-_slide1

Not surprisingly, the top reasons consumers cited for not using mobile data are related to perceived utility and complexity of the services. 29 percent said they have no reason to use the mobile Internet and 24 percent reported that using the mobile Internet is “too complicated”.

Telenor said as per the data, it is evident that elderly populations throughout Asian markets are less engaged with the Internet, particularly via mobile.

I wonder if Telenor will respond to this the same way as many other marketers who try to force feed the same marketing recipe to older consumers, and fail?

This is a clear case where marketers need to rethink the role of mobile devices and the internet in the lives of these disconnected folks.

As we recently advised a telco client, “don’t sell them an internet connection, sell them Skype” – so they can connect with their far-flung families.