WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) survey reveals a shift in technology adoption and use among older adults ages 50-plus. The 50-plus audience is now at parity with 18- to 49-year-olds regarding ownership of most of the primary tech devices. Nearly all of adults 50-plus now own at least one tech device.
Though overall tech spending is down slightly from 2022 to 2023, ownership of smart TVs, smartphones, and wearables has increased year over year (YOY), driven primarily by those ages 60-69 and 70-plus. Older adults are actively engaged with a variety of digital services and they are more likely to access many of these digital services via an app as opposed to just via a website.
Additional survey findings include:
- 86% of those 50-plus stream at least some, if not all, of their entertainment content up from 64% in 2019.
- Four in five (79%) say they use technology to stay connected with friends and family.
- Seven in 10 (69%) of this audience have one or more chronic health issue(s), but few are using technology to manage.
- Most of the 50-plus have experienced a significant life event such as a new chronic health diagnosis or a major health status change in the past two years. When life events happen, the 50-plus are using some digital services to help them, but there are many underused services available where tech could help make life easier and save time or money.
- Only two-thirds (66%) of those 50-plus express comfort with their digital literacy skills; and comfort diminishes with age.
- 64% of 50-plus adults do not feel technology today is designed with their age in mind.
- Older adults are less than enthusiastic about what generative AI might mean for them. Though most (85%) have heard of it, they are unsure as to what it is and whether it will improve or impede their online safety. Only 9% have used it.