Over 50s Shop Mobile Too

Feb 18

Over 50s Shop Mobile Too

Published by Internet Retailing, 13 February 2013.

I speak to retailers regularly, and a comment I hear fairly regularly from marketers with ‘older’ brands is that smartphone users ‘are not my customers’. I’m afraid ladies and gentleman, they are.  And if you’re not careful other companies are going to court your customers away from you, even while they’re in your store! (We’ll be working on some of these campaigns soon!)

At last count, smartphone penetration in Australia was 59%, so by now that figure would be well over 60% and with our current rate of adoption we’ll be at 100% near the end of 2013. We know that 70% of Australian shoppers are using their mobiles in-store to compare prices and find out more product information, but how does that shake out for ‘young’ vs ‘old’?

The best source of deep information on these things at the moment is Google – have a squiz sometime, you can configure the stats in all sorts of ways to really get the mobile revolution:


What you’ll see is that if you’re under 50, smartphone adoption is isn’t too different between the 18 – 30s and the 30s to under 50s. That means an 18 year old is just a little more likely than a 49 year old to have a smartphone. If you’re over 50, then nearly 1/3 of mobiles are smartphones. And these stats aren’t going south any time soon, they’re jumping up every time there’s a new survey.

In terms of using smartphones in shopping, the same applies. An 18 year old is just a little more likely to take a smartphone to research products, or change their mind about an in-store or online purchase with their phone than a 49 year old. Over 50s aren’t that far behind – really. 18% of over 50s compared to 28% of 18 – 30 year olds take their phones out to research products. Most of that difference could be a statistical error.

When looking at actions taken after using a smartphone to look for local information (like calling or visiting a store or buying in a store or online), then all the stats are line ball across all age groups (except for calling a store where the over 50s win hands down).

Except for purchasing products via smartphones, the over 50s are pretty close to their younger counterparts when using apps or searching for products.

If you think you have time to spare on implementing a mobile strategy because you think your customers are too old to be using smartphones then you need to think again, quickly. A massive opportunity is about to pass you by, and you won’t even know what happened.


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