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Three in ten over 55s own an e-reader, compared to fifth of under 55s

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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

January 18, 2013 | 2 min read

Those over 55 are embracing new technology at a faster rate than younger people, research from Mintel has found, as least in terms of e-readers, HDTV and Sat Navs.

It was discovered that 29 per cent of those over 55 owned an e-reader, compared to 22 per cent of those under 55; with 31 per cent of females over 55 owning an e-reader.

Paul Davies, senior technology analyst at Mintel, said: “Over 55s are the keenest readers across all formats of books (paperback, hardback, e-book) bar audiobooks, so the popularity of e-readers in this age group is related to the fact that the digital book is designed specifically to cater for an activity in which they are the keenest participants. Digital books are particularly likely to appeal to seniors who may have problems reading or accessing physical books, due to their ability to enlarge text fonts, simple operation and instant download ability.

“It is clear that Britain’s over 55s are keen to keep up with the nation’s younger consumers when it comes to technology. Gradually more and more seniors are becoming regular internet users, connecting from a range of mobile and in-home devices. While brands may not see seniors as their most profitable group, products and messages tailored towards this sector could be highly rewarding, especially in product categories that are still evolving.”

However, despite the research showing that those over 55 are leading when it comes to owning e-readers, computers, HDTVs and Sat Navs, it was discovered that those under 55 are leading in terms of smartphones: 29 per cent of those over 55 own a smartphone, compared to 73 per cent of the under 55s asked.

However, 71 per cent of the older age group do own some form of mobile phone, with 70 per cent saying they only need a mobile to make and receive calls and texts.

Despite this, 10 per cent of over 55s say they are often one of the first in their family to own new technology.

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