Digital Divide: Fact or Fiction?

digital-divideThe “digital divide” is the gap between those who have ready access to tech products and services, and those who don’t. Specifically, when folks reference it they’re usually referring to the gap between young techies and the older consumers who grew up in a ‘pre-internet era. The boomer generation purportedly has less experience with and interest in digital devices; however, that so-called divide may well be evaporating.

Some convincing recent research from Mintel makes the case that the distinction between age groups is becoming more and more blurred when it comes to being tech-savvy. 55-65 year olds specifically are growing in their knowledge of digital devices.

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Other Facts to Note:

  • More than two-thirds (68%) of over-55s have now accessed the internet, up from 58% in 2011. However, it’s important to note that it is largely the 55-64s that are driving this metric, versus the over-65s.
  • Almost half (48%) of over-55s now own a smartphone, while some 36% already have their own tablet computer.
  • 19% of 55-64 year olds feel they know just as much about technology as younger generations.

As marketers, we cannot discount the presence of over-55s in the digital space. To do so would be to neglect a group with some of the heftiest online buying power.

Source: Mintel Digital Trends—Autumn 2014

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