The Disconnect Between Seniors and Technology Slowly Disappearing, According to New Study

Aug 14, 2013, 09:00 ET from Varsity

HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Product manufacturers, electronics retailers and senior service providers continue to miss the mark when it comes to reaching an audience with spending power and an increasing interest in crossing the Great Digital Divide. But that's slowly changing, and a new generation is subtly driving the technology industry for themselves, their families and professional caregivers, says a recent research study.

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The Great Disconnect: What Technology Marketers Need to Know About Reaching Today's Mature Market Consumer, is based on focus group findings of adults age 65 - 90, shop-alongs at major retailers, and observations gleaned while living in a retirement community for one month. Varsity, a leading mature marketing communications agency, conducted the research.

The study reveals a generation of older adults using technology based on personal preferences, physical and logistical limitations and health concerns. It also identifies issues encountered while shopping the category, and the factors influencing purchase decisions. Findings include:

  • "Transitionals" — a demographic mix of Depression-era Silent Generation and early Boomers — are the driving force behind product usage and expectations formerly the realm of younger consumers.
  • Children and grandchildren remain top influencers for education, purchase recommendations and even repairs.
  • Too many retirement and active adult communities maintain dated infrastructures, with limited Wi-Fi that hinders personal, aging in place, and healthcare technology applications.
  • Understanding differences between similar products such as cameras, laptops and smartphones is a challenge.
  • Tablets are slowly replacing newspapers, magazines, books, cameras and even musical instruments.
  • Internet browsing and shopping are now leisure activities, and many are influenced by mobile content.
  • Interest in apps leans to those providing health-related information.
  • Retailers must train staff to be patient with older consumers, or use peer "brand ambassadors."

"Technology has changed our lives, but many innovations still haven't taken hold in the mature market," said John Bassounas, Varsity director of client services. "That must change, either by choice or by pressure. This study confirms many industry observations, but also offers new insights that can benefit a number of markets."

Based in Harrisburg, Pa., Varsity works with clients in the retirement living, consumer goods and services, technology and healthcare industries. The agency has conducted research in the areas of home care, aging in place, death care, foodservice, wellness, faucets and fixtures, and housing design.

Members of the Varsity team are available to provide presentations of the report, either via webinar or in person. To schedule a presentation or for additional information, contact Matt Bekelja at 717-652-1277 or

About Varsity
Varsity is the nation's leading full-service strategic marketing communications agency focused on winning the mature market. We connect the mature market with brands through one of four main categories: retirement living, consumer goods & services, technology and healthcare. Research drives our work and our team of passionate strategists in the disciplines of creative, public relations, interactive and media. For more information, visit


Shane M. Swisher

(717) 329-9694


SOURCE Varsity