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Reducing the divide of Smart Phone ownership

It has been predicted that 2014 will see an influx in smartphone ownership in our over 55’s age group. It is expected that ownership will rise between 45/50 percent by the end of the year. Over the coming years, research suggests that the smartphone gap 18-54’s and over 55’s will narrow and become almost non-existent by 2020. 

Matthew Bateman is a Barclays Digital Eagle, part of a team of 11,000 who actively work to help people, customers and colleagues, to learn how digital technology can help them in their daily lives.

There are some exciting new brands emerging within the smartphone market which will support and make the transition to using a smart phone easier. A manufacturer called Doro specialise in easy-to-use mobile phones that are taking the market by storm. What is interesting is the inevitable reduction in the 75% gap between smartphone ownership age groups. Consumers are steering away from basic mobile phones that are designed for making calls and sending text only to spending considerable fortunes for the latest phone that allows for great functionality. Mobile phones will continue to stay around however, they are more apparent in emerging markets and less economically developed countries due to cheap price tags.

Confidence in Technology

When the first Computer, Laptop and internet came commercially available it was the younger generations that primarily accepted and merged the technology into their lives. On the other hand, research has shown that the older generation are much slower to except and adopt new technology. On the other hand, as years have passed consumer confidence has grown and people are using smartphones more often since the release of the iPhone that changed the game. They created the ‘app store’ to download apps quickly and simply to your phone with little to  no hassle that ‘just worked’.

App Store

The ‘App Store’ is where all of the extra and most useful content becomes available at the touch of a button. One of the major tasks with operating smartphones by over 55’s is allowing them to explore the full potential of the phones capabilities in an easily fashion. Research found that 1 in 4 over 55 smart phone users have never downloaded an application.

Furthermore, research suggests that in 2014 over a quarter of smart phone owners will not to have downloaded a single application. This is a significant and disturbing figure as a quarter of smartphone users are under utilising the product they bought. But why is this occurring?  Many people feel the sheer size of the app store is over whelming with many of the stores available provide over 2 million applications with no clear and easy search functionality that causes a daunting experience for the end user.

Overcoming Challenges

Number factors inhibit smartphone adoption by seniors. The first being the complex nature of the data allowance types and plans that the mobile networks provide. Consumers can become easily confused and concerned when they reach or exceed their download allowance and believe they will incur a huge bill. Possible solutions to this may be that the network carrier provides a dedicated customer service option called new user or senior user. This service could offer advice on how to connect using wifi so that your data is protected, or it could be a one stop advice line. There are already providers in the market who offer capped data allowance that is guaranteed so that they will never exceed the allowance.

Barclays has innovated in financial services throughout our 325 year history, and we are committed to supporting that innovation for generations to come. More recently we have introduced digital banking innovations such as Pingit and our mobile banking app. What’s also important is that alongside this we have recognised the importance of still having the human element and through our Digital Eagles programme we have trained our colleagues to make the digital world understandable and explain the advantages of digital banking and commerce to our customers.

Further information:

Alex Keeble, Digital Eagle

Mobile 07775547416

Email  [email protected]

Statements made in this article reflect only the views of their author and his views do not necessarily reflect those of Barclays. The Barclays trademark is owned by Barclays Bank PLC and is used under licence.

Barclays Bank PLC is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 122702).

Registered in England. Registered No. 1026167. Registered office: 1 Churchill Place, London E14 5HP.  March 2014

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Mother of three grown-up daughters I am the ultimate multi-tasker and am passionate about my role as Silversurfers Website Editor and Social Media Manager. Always on the lookout for all things that will interest and entertain our community. Fueling fun for the young at heart!

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