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Smartphones might just stop being a young phenomenon. Consulting firm Deloitte predicts that users above 55 years of age would be the fastest adopters of smartphones, especially in developed markets.
“Older generations have been slower in adopting PCs and using Internet. However, once the over 55 group overcame their initial lack of confidence, they became enthusiastic users,” said Deloitte.
Large screen phones can also come in handy for users above 55. “Font size can be zoomed in and used in smartphones which is a very good feature for seniors,” said Hemant Joshi, partner at Deloitte Haskens and Sells. A smartphone vendor offer easy mode on their screen with fewer home screens, apps with bigger icons and home screen dedicated to calling, to aid the transition.
By 2020, the age gap in smartphone usage would completely disappear, predicts Deloitte. Ownership of smartphones of this age group will rise by 40-50 per cent by this year-end. This is still lower than the 70 per cent penetration for 18-54 year-olds.
The users however would not be using smartphones for gaming or texting. Instead, the most use they would be looking at is either calling or communicating through Skype. Operators will however have to connect to them on making them try data usage on smartphones, as most of them might own a smartphone but use it as a feature phone.
Confusion regarding data plans can be hurdle for seniors, and hence could impact the adoption of smartphones. “Consumers of all ages are confused by metered data plans, this confusion may be particularly acute amongst older consumers,” believes Deloitte. Press articles about bill shocks could also stop many seniors from using smartphones.
Due to lesser data usage, the number of apps downloaded by seniors will continue to remain low. Many apps are designed by younger people, for young people.
“Apps developed for older consumers tend to focus on health and wellness, some remind these individuals of their diminishing faculties. There is no obvious reason why older consumers should not enjoy the same breadth and depth of services as other generations,” said Deloitte.