Mobile-Only Trend Led By The Over 55s

I doubt I'm the only nerd who loves to look through presentations to find some insight that totally challenges the usual assumptions about advertising and marketing.

So what if I were to ask you which age group is most likely to have already gone mobile-only?

Until I checked out the latest UKOM-approved Comscore data in the UK Digital Market Overview, I would have assumed it would be Gen Z or millennials leading the charge. To be honest, they're up there. Some 22% of 25- to-34-year-olds have ditched the desktop and are now mobile-only. This drops to 18% for older age groups right up until we get to the over 55s. 

Guess what? More than a quarter -- 28% -- have ditched the desktop and are now mobile-only. This is largely attributable to tablets, the researchers point out. More than half -- at 53% -- of media minutes for those over 55 years old are devoted to the mobile phone. In addition, 17% -- more than any other age group -- are focussed on a tablet. 

Now, just to be real for a minute, it still means that 30% of media minutes for those over 55 years old are devoted to the desktop, so it hasn't disappeared. However, if you're targeting this age group, it is well worth questioning the assumption that they are never mobile-first when, in reality, they are leading the charge to go desktop-free, even though those who have yet to make the break spend more minutes on a desktop than any other age group. 

The reason, I would suggest, is that we are talking about an age group that features people who were either not wedded to a desktop or laptop in their career or who have moved on to rightfully enjoy the fruits of their labour and are ditching the desktop they used to use for work. The age aspect will probably be the answer to why they are the largest user of larger-screen tablets.

So while I would not suggest the desktop is not a great place to find over 55s, I would draw attention to the fact that this absolutely does not mean mobile is not. Quite the opposite.

Elsewhere, the research shows that in terms of minutes spent on each media, millennials are the clear winners and female millennials lead the pack.

Interestingly -- and this is a non-PC observation they may not teach in marketing college -- mobile use decreases significantly with wealth. The upper middle class spend nearly half their media consumption on a smartphone, compared to three in four media consumption spent on a mobile phone among the lower-income bands. 

So, it's a slightly confusing story made simpler by the observation that very nearly two in three of us UK adults are not multi-platform, so it cannot be suggested that there is one route to a particular demographic.

However, if you want the takeaway from this latest set of results, it has to be that over 55s are leading the switch to being mobile-only.

If people in the latest decade or so of their working careers or the retired are your target market, the lazy assumption that this is not a mobile-favouring generation could not be more wrong.

1 comment about "Mobile-Only Trend Led By The Over 55s".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 10, 2019 at 10:19 a.m.

    Sean----not to worry. If you are targeting people aged 55+ just buyTV and you will have no problem reaching them.

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