Young professionals make up a large part of the digital ecosystem, and the various industries in it. These professionals, and their senior counterparts, look to each other, and especially those younger, to understand emerging trends and market conditions.
It would be difficult, perhaps impossible, to find a digital professional stopping someone age 65 and older to ask what’s trending, what’s new in the industry, and what should we be focusing on. 19% of the U.S. population is over the age of 65, and we might be limiting ourselves from a huge potential market.
Is it the beginning of the end of tablets?
One of the trends that I continue to hear about is the death of the tablet device. We’re constantly shifting to a mobile-first, and ultimately, mobile-only world, and it seems that users are starting to abandon tablet devices. In a way, tablets are clunky, inefficient, and unnecessary compared to our mobile devices that do all of the same, but fit in our pockets.
It makes sense that 65+ individuals flock to tablets
In Deloitte’s study, “The smartphone generation gap: over 55? There’s no app for that,” they discussed some of the reasons that older individuals flock to tablets instead of smartphones. Smartphones are not only smaller and more challenging to manipulate, they are also tethered to data plans that cost extra each month, often deeply hidden in confusing settings folders.
Couple that with the occasional media story of one individual’s excessive phone bill, and the interest in smartphones only decreases. Tablets provide a familiar experience to older users. The devices mirror the use of books and newspapers, and they’re easily connected through Wi-Fi (yes, tablets might have data plans, but most are sold without).
Our culture changes first, and technology second
Despite this, tablet sales are down in recent years among all users. Why? The main thought is that older users have a slower upgrade cycle than younger ones. Rarely do older users push machines to their limits of capability, but rather, just desire an experience that is simple, consistent, and reliable. This is why Apple shines in the technology and devices space. They keep things incredibly simple to use, they perform consistently, and it runs on a stable platform.
Tablets are not going away, though. Older individuals will continue to purchase and use them. While the market may be shrinking for tablets, there is still a very viable audience. From a different perspective, developers and designers, both software and hardware, should monitor this trend, and consider the potential itThe reason this is impactful is for these devices and it would behoove application and hardware designers to take this into account.