2022 Tech Trends and the 50-Plus – AARP

If a pandemic-driven acceleration of technology adoption among older adults characterized 2020,   then 2021 in some sense can be seen as a year when tech introduction became tech habit.

Despite the year bringing a return to some level associated with normalcy for many people — with in-person socializing increasing, holiday gatherings resuming, and restaurants welcoming returning customers — older adults’ use of technology to help them stay connected with others remained the cornerstone of social interaction in 2021, AARP’s latest Tech Trends and the particular 50-Plus study found. Three in four people age 50-plus say they rely on technologies to stay connected, along with those in their 50s (76%), 60s (79%), and 70s (72%) all exceeding 70%.

Using Tech with regard to Entertainment plus Day-to-Day Living Ticks Up

In keeping with those trends, the survey results revealed year-over-year continued engagement in most forms of digital communication. Text remained steady at 92% in 2020 and 92% in 2021, video chat stayed fairly even from 70% in 2020 to 67% within 2021, and social media dropped slightly through 78% in order to 74%. An older communication option, email, remained more or less unchanged, from 90% to 89%.    

Overall, older adults continue in order to reach for their devices. The significant rise in the use of smartphones plus tablets recorded in 2020 for such activities as making online purchases, ordering groceries, banking, and engaging health services continued in 2021, as did the increased use associated with a multitude of apps.

In addition to wanting to remain connected — which was the top motivator for all old adults 50 to 70-plus —  they have turned to technology to be entertained plus manage day-to-day living, among other motivators. For the particular 50-plus overall, 66% use technology to connect with others, 59% use it for entertainment, and 47% find it helpful to manage responsibilities. Many also make use of technology to stay healthy (43%), to learn a new skill (38%), or to pursue a passion (36%). Unsurprisingly, embracing technology to maintain personal independence rises along with age: 22% those 50–59, 29% regarding those 60-69, and 35% for people 70-plus.  

As with any age group responding to the menu of ever-changing tech, adults 50-plus continue to adopt technologies with an appetite in order to learn. Leading interests among the 50-plus include learning how to handle smart-home technology (23%), stream entertainment through sites like Hulu or even Netflix (22%), and video chat with friends and family (22%).

Market Gap

Along with the burgeoning utilization of — and familiarity with — technology amongst older grown ups, they see shortcomings, specifically with regard to inclusivity. Two inside five adults 50-plus don’t feel technology is designed with older adults in mind, citing the offerings’ complexity, poor user experience, and insufficient training materials. And the older a person is, the more inclined they are to feel that technology is not developed for all of them. Nearly one in 4 (39%) of those 50–59 don’t feel technologies is created with people of all ages in mind, compared to 40% of all those 60–69 and 45% associated with those 70-plus.

As intended for other challenges, older grownups and those living in rural areas always have limited access in order to high-speed internet. And even among adults along with internet access, more than half (56%) state cost is the problem.

Ready for More

Still, interest in technology amongst older adults continues to expand, and perhaps within new ways. Many, to get instance, are not just playing catch-up on current technologies but awaiting new advances, with 64% of 50-plus adults interested in at least one type of upcoming advancement. In addition, older grown ups carry on and spend on technology. Most (70%), in fact, made a tech purchase in the past 12 months. That’s on par with the 72% purchase rate for 2020, when the particular pandemic-fueled acceleration kicked in, continuing to leave 2019’s prepandemic benchmark of 51% far behind.  

Meanwhile people’s spending on technologies remains significantly higher than prepandemic levels, at $821 compared to $394 in 2019. By 2030, the 50-plus market will be projected in order to swell to 132 million people who are expected to spend on average $108 billion annually on technology products.

Methodology

The online survey of 3, 025 adults age 18 plus older (n= 2, 063 50-plus) was conducted September 14–October 14, 2021 inside English and Spanish. The particular survey took about 19 minutes in order to complete and was weighted according to demographics pertaining to U. S. adults age group 18–plus, 50-plus, and by generation.

For more information, please contact Brittne Kakulla at [email protected] org . For media inquiries, please contact External Relations at  [email protected] org .

Suggested citation:

Kakulla, Brittne. 2022 Tech Styles and Adults 50-Plus. Washington, DC: AARP Research, December 2021. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00493.001