Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×

Search

Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

spinner image Close up of a senior man listening to music on his phone while commuting in a bus.

AARP Research on technology highlights U.S. adults' experiences with and feelings about computers, cellphones, smart TVs, and other personal technology.

LONGEVITY ECONOMY

The 50-plus market is robust and growing, in part because people are living longer. 

  • The 50-plus market contributed $45 trillion to the global economy in 2020, and that’s expected to reach $118 trillion by 2050. 
  • The 50-plus population’s spending on tech is forecast to grow from $140 billion in 2018 to $623 billion in 2050.

[Source: AARP Longevity Economy.]

AGETECH

AgeTech is the growing category of technology solutions designed to meet the needs of the world’s aging population and the more than $45 trillion economy it represents.

  • Sitting at the intersection of longevity and technology, AgeTech includes products, services, and experiences across industries that contribute to longer, healthier lives and empower people to choose how they live as they age. [Source: AARP AgeTech Collaborative.]
  • AgeTech is technology that’s designed to meet the needs of older adults and those who care for them, and includes older adults (and other stakeholders) in the design process.  It includes tech that’s designed to help older adults achieve non–health-related goals in later life, such as financial wellness or lifelong learning. [Source: 2022 Agetech Market Map, The Gerontechnologist.]
  • According to some estimates, the AgeTech market is expected to reach $2 trillion. [Source: AgeTech market slated to double from $1 to $2 trillion, LongevityTechnology.com.]

TECH SPENDING

Older adults’ tech spending has doubled compared to prepandemic levels.

  • Nearly three quarters (71%) of older adults made a tech purchase in 2022. They spent a yearly average of $912, which is up 11% from 2021 ($821), and more than twice as much compared to prepandemic spending in 2019 ($394).
  • The main trigger to purchase new technology is not needing a new tech item (16%) but needing to replace an older or broken device (52%).

By 2030, tech spending among those 50-plus is expected to reach $120 billion.

[Source: 2023 Tech Trends and the 50+ Survey.]

DEVICE ADOPTION TRENDS AMONG ADULTS 50-PLUS

Most older adults have some awareness of emerging tech but adoption is niche.  

  • Historically adoption of new tech rises as awareness and interest grow.

Tech devices are becoming integral parts of daily life for older adults. They continue to rely on technology to stay connected to family and friends.

  • Nearly all (98%) those 50 and over own at least one device such as smartphones (86%), smart TVs (70%), and tablets (59%) and most use them daily.
  • One in three (31%) older adults now owns a home assistant.
  • A quarter (24%) of older adults currently own smart home tech such as home monitoring security or safety devices, internet-connected home thermostats, and appliances.
  • The 50-plus own devices at about the same rate as those 18–49.
  • 78% of older adults rely on technology to stay and in touch with friends and family.

[Source: 2023 Tech Trends and the 50+ Survey.]

THE DIGITAL HOME

Many existing and emerging technologies will be core to enabling older adults to age-in-place.

Many older adults prefer to remain in their own homes and communities as they age.

  • 77% of adults 50 and older want to remain in their homes for the long term — a number that has been consistent for more than a decade.
  • Most older adults in the U.S. (79%) own their own homes and about half have paid off their mortgage.
  • 87% of all U.S. adults drive cars themselves, including 65% of people 85 and older

[Source: AARP Home and Community Preferences Survey.]

In the U.S., 27% of adults ages 60 and older live alone, compared with 16% of adults in the 130 countries and territories studied. [Source: Older people are more likely to live alone in the U.S. than elsewhere in the world, PEW Research.]

Several types of tech are available that will allow older adults to age in place. 

  • Older adults can monitor and control their home using their voice or a mobile app or device, such as security and monitoring technologies, home safety, and home automation. Home safety can include sensors that detect falls, sensors that detect when a stove is on, etc.
  • Adoption of technology that promotes independence and security continues to grow (smart home tech from 10% in 2019 to 24% in 2022) as does growth in home safety devices.
  • Telehealth and remote monitoring tech allow older adults to receive medical care and support remotely without leaving home.
  • Wearable devices allow older adults to track various health metrics. 
  • Communication technology, such as smartphones and video chat, enable older adults to stay connected with friends and family. 
  • Health and mobility technologies focused on assistive design such as stairlifts and adaptive clothing can help older adults with mobility issues. Home safety tech devices, such as doorbell cameras, encourage independence and safety are most popular, particularly among consumers 50–59. More than a quarter (28%) of older adults use a doorbell camera. Among those 50–59, one in three (35%) currently use such technology. 

[Source: 2023 Tech Trends and the 50+ Survey.]

DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT

Technology has made it easier for older adults to stay connected, informed, and engaged in the world around them. 

  • More than half (59%) of older adults are using social media at least weekly.
  • Streaming entertainment continues to gain popularity with older adults as over 80% engage in some streaming entertainment. One-third (35%) report streaming entertainment daily while two-thirds (64%) are streaming at least weekly. 
  • To stay in touch with others, 94% use text, 88% use email, 74% are on social media, and 67% use video chat.

[Source: 2023 Tech Trends and the 50+ Survey.]

BARRIERS TO ADOPTION AND AGE-FRIENDLY DESIGN

Nearly seven in 10 (68%) older adults do not believe today’s technology is designed with them in mind, and poor user experience is one of the biggest barriers to expanding the older adult market. 

  • When considering a new tech purchase, a quarter of older adults report design and user experience (26%) and awareness and interest (23%) as slightly bigger barriers than cost (19%) and privacy concerns (18%). 
  • Three-quarters (74%) consider it important to make sure any new technology will work seamlessly with their current tech when considering new tech purchases.

[Source: 2023 Tech Trends and the 50+ Survey.]

TECH AND HEALTH

Adults 50-plus are beginning to see the benefits of using tech to assist in their health and well-being.

  • Older adults are embracing new technologies that allow them to age in place and receive medical care in the home. Two in five (42%) of adults 50-plus say tech enables them to lead a healthy life. 
  • One in three currently use a smartphone to help manage their health and fitness (get health info, 37%; video chat with medical professional, 33%; track health info, 31%).
  • One in five (21%) either use or are interested in using technology to aid in their own health and well-being.
  • More than half (52%) of older adults serving as caregivers are interested in using tech to help with their caregiving needs.
  • Top barriers to using tech to better their health include a preference to focus on nontech solutions (35%) and being unaware of the tech options (29%).
  • The introduction of emerging tech and advances in medical tech can extend our lifespan. New tech such as adaptive clothing, wearable exoskeletons, anti-aging drugs, artificial organs are all examples of the variety of ways tech can be used to help people live longer. 
  • Tech can help older adults track health indicators, manage health conditions, provide motivation for managing a health condition, and create opportunities to learn about and address health concerns.
  • The technology is right there in their hands or on their wrists. Among adults 50-plus, 86% own a smart phone, 70% have a smart TV, 59% use a tablet, 31% have a home assistant, 28% own a wearable device, and 24% have a smart home-tech device.

[Source: 2023 Tech Trends and the 50+ Survey.]

TELEHEALTH

  • Half of adults age 50-plus say they or a family member have used telehealth in the past two years. [Source: AARP Telehealth Study.]
  • Nearly two-thirds (64%) of the 50-plus are interested in at least one type of new emerging technology surveyed. Many are interested in health-related innovations such as diagnostic toilets and daily objects that automatically track health measures.

[Source: 2023 Tech Trends and the 50+ Survey.]

LEARNING HOW TO USE TECH

Older adults are invested in learning and learning their tech devices. 

  • The lifelong learning market is substantial, representing $5.6 billion annually. That equates to each lifelong learner currently spending an average of $75 a year on their interests.

About a quarter (24%) of older adults are currently learning to use new technology.

  • Learning a new technology is the top area of interest for those who are not actively learning new tech, with 32% planning to do so in the future.
  • The majority go online (particularly YouTube) to acquire new knowledge (72%), learn a new technology (66%), and develop a new skills (63%).
  • Most older adults would like to improve their digital literacy skills and learn about tech through a trusted source such as working hands-on with a friend or family member

[Source: AARP Lifelong Learning Study.]

Nearly half (44%) of adults 50-plus wish for a better grasp on technology.

  • Adults 50-plus want to learn how to use new technology by having a friend or family member show them hands on (69%), self-paced learning with recorded online tutorials and videos (61%), and just playing with it until they get it to work (51%). 
  • Most adults 18–49 say they perform some type of tech-support duty for an older adult in their life: 
    • Answer questions from time to time: 67%
    • Help them troubleshoot issues: 59%
    • Help them with installation or upgrades: 48%
    • Provide them with hands on training:  41%
    • Help them decide what to buy: 34%
    • Buy them the technology I believe they need or would enjoy: 20%
    • None of the above, they do not need help: 9%

[Source: 2023 Tech Trends and the 50+ Survey.]

FINANCIAL TECHNOLOGY

Some older adults are using their smartphones to shop and manage their finances.  

  • 86% of the 50+ own a smartphone. Among those smartphone owners, over half use their smartphone to make a purchase (56%) or conduct financial transactions (56%).
  • Two in five (43%) adults 50 and over use a financial app at least weekly on their smartphone.

[Source: 2023 Tech Trends and the 50+ Survey.]