California Seniors Adopting the Digital Tools They Invented!


Use of digital devices by seniors continues growth trend.

OK admit it, you laugh a little when you see a senior with a cell phone whose buttons are the size of a quarter.

But, remember this, that device with its special ‘age consideration features’, was imagined, engineered, funded, produced, and marketed by those people you now consider “old”.

30 years ago, seniors were the millennials even though that term didn’t exist.

  • eMarketer estimates 78,3% of boomers will be internet users this month.
  • U.S. internet users 55-64 who use video services and devices hit 48%, while those 65+ hit 34%.
  • 64 -year olds watch almost 43 hours of live or time-shifted TV per week.

With the U.S. population about to be dominated by boomers 55+ over the next 10 years, CMOs would be wise to remember that many of the products we all take for granted were created by the prior generation. They not only dreamed them up, they made them a reality – from jet travel to remote control television sets. But now, this same generation are the most populace and economically equipped cohort in the U.S. Clearly, this is a segment CMOs should work harder to embrace.

And with all the content viewing of seniors, largely undistracted by multi-tasking, it makes them ideal targets to advertiser messaging aimed at them. Seniors are the wealthiest target a CMO could hit. How does $2.3 trillion sound?


It is estimated that 64.4% of seniors will be smart phone users this year, a ringing endorsement for the “mobile- first strategy” deployed by CMOs everywhere. Now use it to capture your share of smart phone and digital leaning seniors.

Digital devices, platforms and services designed to monitor health and wellness are among the growth areas CMOs should target. After all:

  • Aging in place numbers are increasing. Devices that connect one to their physician is the holy grail for marketers
  • CMOs can become the tipping point for aging in place seniors to embrace in-home health/safety monitoring
  • CMOs can close the “action needs to catch up with intention” gap. (Source: Scripps Networks Interactive)
  • Under the category of indispensable aging-in-place technology are home alarm systems – smoke, fire, water, burglary. (source: Orlov)
  • Smart speakers such as Echo have already captured over 31% of boomers and is rising.

Boomers were the millennials of the day – the risk takers who created the start-ups and took the jobs to find the ‘next thing’. As eMarketer states-

“It’s easy to forget that boomers were once computer-age pioneers. They were the ones that made the personal computer a common household appliance. The ones who made email a normal means of communication.”

The Golden State is the birthplace of the digital revolution and California seniors are its parents. Silicon Valley and various garages put the “personal” in the computer. With a combined net worth in the trillions, seniors across the country are just waiting to be courted. CMOs need to adopt their own ‘Silver Rush’ sense of urgency to capture their fair share.

Photo by Lazy Focus

Author Profile

Brad Ball
Brian Morris and I have been good friends and industry competitors for years. We both have run major advertising agencies and both have held top level client-side positions. I am a former partner at ad agency Davis, Ball and Colombatto, and the former Chief Marketing Officer at McDonalds and President, Theatrical Marketing for Warner Brothers. Brian and I are now in our 60’s and came together in 2017 to form a company that understands the Senior market better than traditional ad agencies, Silver Advertising. We are now poised to be passionate advocates for these consumers as they enter their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and beyond.

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