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Volume 35
Winter / Spring 2019


People 50-Plus Using Tech to Stay Connected

AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins
AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins

New Research says more people 50plus are using tech to stay connected to friends and loved ones says AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. Jenkins comments were made at the Inaugural Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Pitch Competition, highlighting social connection for people.

AARP is putting the spotlight on $7.6 trillion of annual economic activity generated by Americans age 50plus, which is equivalent to the third largest economy in the world.

AARP data show that, as consumers live longer and lead more active lives, they also spend more: for every dollar spent in the U.S., 51 cents is spent by people over the age of 50.

AARP is also at CES to showcase technology solutions to increase social connection for people of all ages, since social isolation is on the rise across generations, from Boomers to Millennials. This is part of AARP’s Longevity EconomyTM initiative to provide education to various industries about marketplace wants and needs of the 50plus population.

“The economic power of people age 50plus is clear and technology is a central part of their lives. AARP is working to spark new solutions that focus on the interests and needs of people in this influential group,” said Jenkins.

To shed light on how tech is being embraced, AARP released its 2018 Tech Usage report, which found nearly 132 million Americans age 50 and older will spend upwards of $84 billion a year on technology products by 2030. While women spent more on tech overall than men last year, men are 27 percent more likely than women to make high-ticket tech purchases (28 versus 22 percent).

The new study found a significant majority (94 percent) of Americans age 50 and up are using technology to stay connected to friends and family, a statistically significant climb over 2017 (91 percent). About half of older Americans own a smart TV; the survey data suggests nine million more plan to buy one within the year. The popularity of home assistants, such as Google Home or Amazon Alexa, has grown significantly, with ownership about doubling from 2017 to 2018.

“Our research findings demonstrate that those companies who ignore older Americans are missing out on a huge – and growing – opportunity,” Jenkins said.