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Smartphone sales skyrocket among over 55s

Wednesday, September 20th 2017 by Oprah Flash

Smartphone sales among baby boomers are thriving as 71% of those aged 55-75 now own one.

Deemed the “silver swipers” by Deloitte, those over 55 are catching up to millennials as an age group who actively use apps and smart technology as part of everyday life.

Deloitte carried out research on the device habits of over 4,000 adults across the UK.

The study shows that over 55s have the fastest growing rate of buying smartphones over of any other age group.

In 2012 the number of older consumers in possession of a smartphone was 29%.

Paul Lee, head of research for technology at Deloitte, said: “There is a growing population of ‘silver swipers’ who are demonstrating similar smartphone behaviours to that of 16-19-year-old ‘screenagers’, which is indicative of the smartphone’s ability to narrow the generation gap.

“However, whereas smartphone adoption has reached saturation point for younger consumers, we expect device ownership and usage intensity among 55-75-year-olds to rise steadily over the medium term.

“Older consumers will become an increasingly important segment of the mobile industry: they are no longer a fringe group, whose smartphone usage remains confined to calls and messages.

'Similar behaviours to 16-19-year-old screenagers'

“Armed with proportionally higher disposable income and an increasing awareness of technology, the ‘silver swiper’ may well become a major contributor to future growth in the industry”.

As older users quickly adapt to new technology, 16% of those aged 55-64 think they use their phone too much.

Millennials are still, “glued to their smartphones”, but their parents and grandparents are catching up says Deloitte.

The data shows the older age group check their phones 12 times a day. Of those, 16% admit they use their phone too much.

Ofcom data reveals 'silver swipers' spend 15 hours browsing online each week, compared to 32 hours among 16-24s.

With many mobile providers offering unlimited calls and text, the older population are finding it easier to use handsets to keep in touch with their loved ones.

Alison Preston, head of media literacy at Ofcom, said: “The UK’s older generation is beginning to embrace smart technology, and using it to keep in touch with friends and family.”

Looking ahead, Deloitte's team of experts predict daily usage of smartphones will increase to 80% of all adults by mid-2018 and to rise to 90% by 2022.

By the end of this year Deloitte expect over a million UK adults will have spent £1,000 or more on a single smartphone.

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