Top Menu

The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute has released a report on Mobile News trends that includes very useful data related to smartphone and tablet use by age and gender.

While news reading on smartphones by users over 65 is much lower than other age groups, check out the strong percentage of tablet users over 65 who are consuming news this way:

Chart: mobile news consumers using tablet vs. smartphones, by age
Source: Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute


Do baby boomers and  seniors even own mobile devices such as smartphones? In June of 2013, Nielsen reported 6 in 10 mobile subscribers had smartphones.

“Overall, women make up the majority of smartphone owners in the U.S., as more than three out of five use them. Ownership was highest among Millennials aged 25-34 at 78 percent, and three out of four mobile users aged 18-24 already own smartphones. Penetration of smartphones remained lowest among Americans aged 55+ (42%), but this group is catching up fast, as penetration among this demographic has nearly doubled over the past year.”

And while tablet ownership rates are highest among ages 35-44, Pew found the number of older tablet users is on the rise. 38% of younger Boomers (ages 45-54) own one, along with 28% of older Boomers (ages 55-64) and 18% of 65+ seniors.

A final, handy chart from Reynolds Journalism Institute:

charts- tablet and smartphone uses by age and gender, apple vs android
Source: Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

Marketing Implications:

* Want to attract female older boomers? Create a course or contest around an iPad! (Look at that spike in tablet users by age group!)
* Is your target the senior man? Consider a class that engages him around an iPhone.
* Don’t underestimate mobile as a channel for marketing to active adults. (Don’t overestimate it either.)
* Be sure your websites are friendly to Apple OS AND considerate of older eyes/fingers.

RELATED: When writing for MEDIA Magazine’s fall issue on the Future of Media, we heralded tablets as the future of Baby Boomer media consumption. Read the article on whatever device you prefer —

About The Author

Erin Read

For nearly 13 years, Erin Read spearheaded integrated and digital marketing programs for Creating Results' clients. She directed and co-authored four national studies/eBooks (Photo Finish and three editions of Social, Silver Surfers) and served as the principal blogger for Mature Marketing Matters. Now a consultant to the agency, Erin is leveraging her expertise in marketing to baby boomers and seniors while tackling new challenges. Find her on LinkedIn .