When Gran Has a Smartphone

One of the major findings from my 2015 Right for the Times study is that Gran has a smartphone. Well not every Gran – but almost half of the [online] 65 plus age group and over 60% of  younger oldies.

What’s more – the 65+ Grans and Pops are even more likely to have a tablet [the larger type and user-friendly interface makes it even more accessible].

But so what? These people are late to the party – what difference do they make?

There  are some direct implications for marketers.  Mobile communications have now become an every person thing, not just a young person thing. Adjust those user personas!  You can now explore the possibilities of apps and services for wealthy baby boomers and beyond.

This Is Now A Digital Society

But there are deeper changes afoot. Most of us now participate in the digital revolution. And the latecomers are going through exactly the same kind of mindset changes that we went through when we joined in – however many years ago that was and however old we were at the time.

So, collectively, our society and culture is also going through a mindset change. We as a society now have a greater sense of empowerment. Some things – like getting a good deal or making a complaint – feel much easier. [City traffic still feels hard].

And now that we are more easily connected to friends and family wherever they are – there’s some compensation for the increased geographical dispersion of our loved ones.

There’s greater streamlining and efficiency – so more and more of us develop higher customer expectations – we are more likely to want what we want when we want and to become impatient in the face of delays or lack of availability.

We’ll impulsively try more things if we get to hear about them, but because of the sheer volume of information we are exposed to, it becomes harder and harder to remember what we heard. So unless we can act on something straightaway it often doesn’t happen at all.

And in the face of this cacophony of human noise it’s still much easier, ironically, to stick with what we already know and just get more of that, rather than radically change our thinking. The long tail allows us to become more tribal and potentially, far more insular.

There was never any golden age where everyone suddenly became enlightened and recognised our common humanity – and this isn’t it either. The internet amplifies existing human characteristics for good and bad and daylight is not always a good disinfectant.

But if you want a society that thrives on dynamism and being adaptive and living in the moment and feeling that anything is possible, this is the place for you.

Just don’t make any long term plans!

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