Even though they’re still common, jokes about clueless baby boomers calling their kids to figure out how to use technology are starting to feel outdated. While today’s youngest generations are practically born with tablets, smartphones and laptops in their hands, grandparents are also adopting technology at a startling pace.
Boomers’ enthusiasm to consume new technology is growing and changing as fast as the field of new products available. In fact, a 2012 Forrester Research technology survey found 78 percent are online, and of those, 54 percent own laptops. Tablet use among boomers is growing too; 11 percent already own one and another 15 percent plan on buying one soon.
While the boomers’ generational trait of progressiveness helps to explain this tech rush, more practical reasons demystify it as well. Many among the generation are at the peak of their earning power, with more money to spend on technology than other age groups. A 2012 survey by Nielsen showed that within five years, approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population will be 50 or older, and they’ll control 70 percent of disposable income. For this generation, a forward-thinking mindset has always been a common trait, so crossing the digital divide was bound to happen.
Despite their proven purchasing power, many advertisers are leaving these consumers in the lurch. Although boomers account for 49 percent of total sales of consumer packaged goods, Nielsen estimates that less than 5 percent of advertising dollars are targeted toward adults ages 35 to 64.
Overcoming the learning curve as well as the lack of attention from marketers has shown just how much boomers value the latest technology developments. But for those who don’t yet have their hands on the latest gadgets, organizations like AARP are making it easier for boomers to get connected.
"AARP’s goal is to provide value to its members, and our research has shown that many AARP members are early adopters of technology," says Angela Jones, senior vice president of Business Development and Lifestyle Products for AARP Services. "Through AARP’s relationships with retailers and manufacturers, our nearly 38 million members receive discounts on their favorite technology products."
For example, members can get discounts of 5 to 12 percent on a range of HP products, 10 percent off Amazon’s Kindle e-readers, including the popular tablet Kindle Fire, and even discounted phone service from Vonage.
Whether they’re keeping up with the new pace of work at the office or simply looking for a better way to connect with family, there’s no doubt that boomers are demanding technology that helps to improve their lives. As they grab each new opportunity to connect, the idea of boomers being behind the technological times is fading fast.
For more information about discounts available to AARP members, visit www.aarpdiscounts.com.