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New AARP Study: Older Adult Tech Usage Continues to Grow

Charlotte Locals

New research from AARP finds tech ownership among adults age 50-plus continues to grow, with smartphone usage increasing from 70% in 2017 to 77% in 2019. In addition, adults ages 50 and older are adopting consumer technology, including smartphones, wearables, home assistants/smart speakers, and smart home technology, at nearly the same rate as adults ages 18 to 49.
While rates of tech use are similar across age demographics, the survey finds device preferences vary among people of different ages. Results show most owners use whatever technology they adopt daily.

“The results reflect what we all are seeing in our daily lives, with our parents, relatives, friends and neighbors using technology on a regular basis to stay connected and be entertained and informed,” said Alison Bryant, senior vice president of research, AARP. “When adults see the need for and benefits of tech, they are using it in increasingly similar patterns as those in younger generations.”

Key findings from the Tech Usage study include:

  • In the past year, 51% of older Americans say they bought some tech product. Top purchases were:

--A smartphone (23%)--A computer or laptop (12%)
--A smart television (11%)
--A tablet (10%)
--Smart home technology or device (12%)
--A wearable device (7%).

  • People under age 50 are losing interest in tablets, but those over 50 continue to buy them, with more than half (52%) owning one.
  • Adults 50-plus are using smartphones and tablets to maintain social connections, to find information, and for entertainment, but smaller percentages are using their device to conduct financial transactions (37%) or automate their home (16%).
  • Though 49% of people 50-plus say they own a smart TV, only 42% are using streaming or online options to watch shows.
  • Nearly half (46%) of all owners of smart home assistants/smart speakers report not using the device daily.

For more information, the full report is available here.

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