October 30, 2012 in Idea
I came across this article in the Irish Times (now added to our DTLater Diigo Group) – a brief abstract below:
“It is estimated that approximately 70 per cent of Europe’s wealth is in the hands of the over 50s. In the last 20 years, consumption within that age bracket has risen three times as fast as the rest of the population. By the same token, the latest research carried out in Ireland showed that only 25 percent of over 50s in Ireland have IT skills.
Yet there is no massive push on the part of advertisers and marketers to get older people online. Surely with the massive growth of online advertising and by extension online shopping, one would assume more of that “old money” would be aimed at?
The last in-depth research conducted in 2008 – commissioned by the Work Research Centre and Age Action Ireland – indicated that 25 per cent of people over 50 are online but only 35 per cent of them were engaged in functional usage. In other words, they had internet access in their houses but they weren’t getting a whole lot of benefit from it.
“This study is old so we’re also trying to stimulate better more up to date research in the area,” says Sinead Gibney, head of social action at Google Ireland and co-architect of Google’s Age Engage programme, which aims to build scalable and sustainable models for IT skills in older people.
Perception of older people within society as a whole is the first problem in tapping into this market. “It is presumed everybody in society is now online,” says Eamon Timmins of Age Action Ireland.
“This is not the case. Many older people are yet to overcome the psychological barrier of starting to learn how to use a computer and yet it is this community which could benefit most from being online.”
The key point though, is that Google and Age Action have teamed up to create a resource to deliver free training for “older” users on how to get connected, use the internet, use Skype and many other tools. From what I can tell, this initiative is specific to Ireland – see http://www.getyourfolksonline.ie/ – but maybe we can approach Google to see if there are plans to extend this programme in collaboration with other age/community support organisations.