The 65+ population has been slower to adopt online use when compared with other age groups, leading reverse mortgage lenders to continue the use of traditional marketing to reach their target, 62+ demographic.
But now, more than half of American adults aged 65 and older use the internet or email—the most ever, according to a Pew Research Center study, and they’re almost all regular users.
Some lenders have launched successful online campaigns, with many admittedly late to the game. One executive at a large lender told a recent industry conference that he expects online leads to outpace TV-generated leads in the not-too-distant future. The Pew research seems to back up this claim.
While senior adults are still less likely than any other age groups to go online, 53% say they use the internet or email at least occasionally, or access the internet through a cellphone, tablet, or other handheld mobile device. That’s up from 38% in August of 2008 and 41% in August 2011.
Once they’re online, seniors regularly use the internet. Out of all adult internet users, 82% go online on an average day. For 65+ adults, 70% use the internet on an average day.
Close to three-quarters (70%) of 65+ seniors own a cellphone, a substantial 57% jump from two years ago. In the G.I. Generation (adults aged 75 and older), 56% own a cellphone.
About a third of the 65+ population are on social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, but email “continues to be the bedrock of online communications for seniors,” says Pew, as 86% use email, and 48% do so on a typical day.
Seniors are actually more connected and tech-savvy than what Pew says, according to analyst firm Forrester Research. Their study says about 60% of seniors are online, or approximately 20 million Americans. Out of those, 91% use email, while 59% have purchased products online in the past three months.
Because of this widespread presence, older consumers should be a force to be reckoned with when marketing products to an online audience, the firm says.
Written by Elizabeth Ecker