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Smartphone ownership up among U.S. age 50-plus adults

Staff Writer |
AARP today issued the latest results from its Attitude, Trend & Opinion (ATOM) module, which includes ongoing research on technology ownership and usage among people 50-plus.




The ATOM report found that nearly nine in 10 (89%) adults over 50 own some type of mobile device, with over half of adults over age 50 – and nearly three quarters of adults age 50-59 (73%) - owning a smartphone.

Smartphone ownership among people 50-plus is up ten percentage points over July 2014 and 25 points since 2013.

The research also found that portable device adoption such as smartphones and tablets continues to grow among Americans age 50-plus while adoption of traditional computing has flattened or declined.

Over three quarters of adults 50-plus (76%) own some type of computing device (desktop/laptop/tablet).

One in ten (11%) adults over 50 own a wearable device, with those age 50-70 the most likely to own this technology.

Email, visiting websites, news, and getting directions are the most common activities that smartphone users engage in. Six in ten have downloaded an app.

70-plus smartphone owners are most likely to be email-only users (20% vs. just 2% of those 50-59).

Adults age 50-plus who are mobile enabled do more activities on their computers and tablets than they do on their smartphones, but there are some tasks that are becoming mobile dominant: sending email/IMs (92% on mobile vs. 89% on computer), getting traffic and directions (81% on mobile vs. 84% on computer), and downloading apps (63% on mobile vs. 61% on computer) are all done as much or more on mobile than traditional computers.

Over time, email has dropped slightly as a mode of communication, while texting and social media have gained in popularity.

Among the 50-59 age group, text messaging has overtaken email in the tool most used to stay connected, and still leads the way on using social media to remain in touch.


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