Looking back at 2020, many of us made use of technology more than ever, relying on it to keep in touch with loved ones through video chatting and to stay on top of the news as we made through months of living through quarantine and isolation. We saw an uptick in using texting, video chats, phone and emails compared to before the pandemic. For example, in 2019, less than half of people 50-plus had ever used video chat, but this number soared to more than 70 percent in 2020. And as one might expect, with such a reliance on technology, adults 50+ spent more on their devices (from smartphones, smart TVs, and earbuds), 194 percent more.
Findings in the AARP’s 2021 Tech Trends and the 50-Plus report reveal a significant shift in how our lifestyles have changed, and indicate that that this demographic is embracing tech (for example, 32 percent have attended a live virtual event since the start of the global pandemic), however it’s too early to to say if these changes in habit will hold strong. There remains a large group (30 percent) of older adults who say they would use technology more if they knew how to use it.
With 44 percent of older adults feeling more positively toward technology as a way to keep connected than before the pandemic, now in 2021, as vaccines roll out worldwide, and we see more places opening up, the agetech space is in a unique position. Cost, ease of access, and privacy concerns are amongst the issues of concern that could impact how older adults will embrace technology in 2021.