Marketing and communications professionals are having to quickly rethink their attitudes towards the 50 plus demographic – a group that is using the Internet frequently and with enthusiasm.
Not too long ago marketing agencies maintained that people 50 and older were hesitant about using the web. Campaigns targeted towards this age group invested heavily in print media, supplemented with leaflets, radio and television.
But research finally caught up with reality when it was revealed in 2010 that Facebook’s fastest growing demographic group was women 55 and older. This makes perfect sense. The Internet established itself in the workplace in the mid-1990s, when that generation was in its 30s. They were in fact the first generation to log on and use email and social media. Some of them may have been one step behind with Internet shopping, but they soon caught up.
The belief amongst marketing professionals that men and women 50 and beyond were sometimes slow to log on reflects an ageism that is all too pervasive in our culture. Fortunately this is changing and the over 50s are making it clear what services they want, and how they will use them.
They also welcome online dating and believe that after a separation or divorce online dating is the best way to go to meet new people. One dating site in particular that has noticed strong growth in the last year is http://www.dating40plus.net/. The site had steady growth and then experienced a surge towards the end of 2010, with many members across the UK joining to find activity partners, a long term relationship, dates, or friends.
While large, generalist sites may have experienced a leveling of growth, niche sites for older people continue to go from strength to strength. And as the number of older people in our population increases, we can expect this trend to continue.