Older Consumers Embrace New Media, Tech In Big Way

When it comes to tech and new-media adoption, older generations of Americans continue to gain on millennials. That’s according to the Pew Research Center.

For example, while the share of millennials who say they use social media (86%) has remained largely unchanged since 2012, the shares of Gen Xers, boomers and the “Silent Generation” who use social media have all increased by at least 10 percentage points during this period.

This year, millennials will turn somewhere between 23 and 38; Gen Xers will turn 39 to 54; baby boomers will turn 55 to 73; while “Silents” will turn 74 to 91.

In terms of specific platforms, around three-fourths or more of both millennials and Gen Xers now report using Facebook (84% vs. 74%, respectively).

Boomers and Silents have both increased their Facebook use by double digits since 2015. In fact, the share of Silents using Facebook has nearly doubled in the past four years, from 22% to 37%, Pew reports.



In recent years, older consumers have also increased their use of consumer technology in a big way. Among boomers, for example, smartphone use has skyrocketed from 25% in 2011 to 68%, today.

Despite a narrowing of the gap between generations, smartphone ownership still clearly declines with age.

Per Pew, more than 90% of millennials count themselves as smartphone owners; followed by 90% of Gen Xers; 68% of boomers; and 40% of Silents.

As for smartphone-only Web users, 19% of millennials fit into this category, along with 17% of Gen Xers; 11% of boomers and 15% of Silents.

Consumer opinion about the role of technology also continues to vary with age.

For instance, 73% of online millennials said the Web has been mostly a good thing for society, compared with 63% of Silents.

Across the board, American's take on the societal impact of the Web has recently become less positive, according to Pew.

Among Gen Xers, for example, those who believe the Web has been mostly a positive force in society declined from 80% in 2014 to 69% in 2018.
1 comment about "Older Consumers Embrace New Media, Tech In Big Way".
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  1. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, September 9, 2019 at 6:41 p.m.

    Gavin, great post. I have a large number GenX's, BBer's and Silents entering sweepstakes and increasing. One of the reasons I feel is there lower quality entertainment standards and exspecially in TV shows.  A majority of my members have said they will enter the sweeps while the TV is on in background. They will mostly enter on laptops or pads during the show and during the commericals. The old term was multi-task. I think it is still alive whether with family connecting on FB or for entertainment reasons.

    Many years ago, the discussion was about how much free time for family and entertainment does the average person has? I think the minutes or even hours today is greater than any other period in the digital age.  This is something you might want to revisit.

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