It is old news that the population is graying, and yet many technological products and services are predominantly geared for and marketed to young consumers (Niemela-Nyrhinen, 2007, p. 305). This technological trend reflects stereotypes of the older adult market as people who want stability and are anxious of new changes, especially adopting new technologies (Vuori & Holmlund-Rytkonen, 2005 as cited in Niemela-Nyrhinen, 2007, p. 305). In the recent years, the academic world has poured more attention on the older population, so that a more authentic account of the older adult consumers can be attained (Niemela-Nyrhinen, 2007, p.
305). This paper conducts a literature review for people over 40 and their use of smartphones. There are no actual studies yet, in the knowledge of the author, which directly assess the perceptions and use of 40-and-above adults of smartphones and whether they prefer them over regular cell phones. Review of Literature Use of New Technology by Older Adults There is a prevailing stereotype that older adults are afraid of adopting new technologies, but several studies proved that these stereotypes are inaccurate and unfounded (Niemela-Nyrhinen, 2007, p.
305). Niemela-Nyrhinen (2007) examined the truthfulness of stereotypes about older adult consumers and technology-related anxiety. The sampling consisted of 659 Finnish baby boomers, who responded to mail surveys. Findings showed that Baby Boom consumers have usage experience of different technologies (SMS, internet) and they cannot be categorized as technology anxious (Niemela-Nyrhinen, 2007). Reisenwitz and Iyer (2007) compared the behavior of older and younger Baby Boomers. Their sample was made of 295 respondents.
Findings showed that aside from cognitive age, there are no significant behavioral differences between older and younger Baby Boomers. Majority of them use the Internet and are comfortable with new technologies. These studies showed that Baby Boomers are comfortable with using the Internet and cellphones contrary to stereotyped beliefs. Older Adults’ Attitude to and Perceptions of New Technology Older adults have positive perceptions of and attitudes to new technology that are valuable and economical.
Kumar and Lim (2008) investigated the effects of age on mobile service quality perceptions and its influence on perceived value, satisfaction, and loyalty. The sampling groups consisted of the Gen Y and Baby Boomers. The data for college students (n=159) were collected from a large Southern university in the USA. The data for the baby boomer group (n=139) were collected through an Internet Survey. Data was analyzed using exploratory factor analysis (EFA) with Varimax rotation. Findings showed that age affects perceived value, satisfaction, and loyalty (Kumar & Lim, 2008, p.
574). The quality of data services was more important to Gen Y than Baby Boomers (Kumar & Lim, 2008, p. 574). Emotional values were more important for Generation Y, while economic value was more critical for Baby Boomers (Kumar & Lim, 2008, p. 574). Yang and Jolly (2008) investigated the differences in adoption of mobile data services, between Gen X and Baby Boomers. A sampling of 200 mobile services users participated in an online survey. Multigroup structural equation modeling analysis was employed to analyze the differences between the two groups.
Findings showed that Baby Boomers found it harder to use the mobile data services than Gen X, and this low perceived ease of use affected their adoption of this new technology (Yang & Jolly, 2008, p. 256). It is interesting to note, however, that Baby Boomers reported higher perceived usefulness for mobile data services than Gen X (Yang & Jolly, 2008, p. 257). If technology is not useful to one’s life, Baby Boomers tend to regard it as part of consumerism and marketing ploys. Roberts and Manolis (2000) investigated the differences in perceptions of marketing, consumerism, and advertising between Baby Boomers and Baby Busters or Gen X.
The data collection approach was based on mall-interception, wherein 476 participants were asked to answer survey questionnaires. Findings showed that Baby Busters had more positive views of marketing, consumerism, and advertising than Baby Boomers (Roberts & Manolis, 2000, p. 491). This shows a negative attitude to the excess of consumerist culture from the perspective of Baby Boomers. In a related study, several authors examine personality and motivations of older adults that can also impact new technology adoption and perceptions. Wong et al.
(2008) studied if Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y of working Australians have differences in personality and motivational drivers. The sample consisted of 3,535 managers and professionals. One-way ANOVAs were conducted to investigate differences in the three generations. Findings showed that age impacts motivation and personality differences more than generations, although generational differences still exist (Wong et al. , 2008, p. 887). Baby Boomers are less oriented to career advancement than younger employees and this could be because the technology-driven environment of Gen X and Gen Y make them more competitive (Wong et al.
, 2008, p. 886). Gen X and Baby Boomers are also motivated by power and influence (Wong et al. , 2008, p. 887). References Kumar, A. & Lim, H. (2008). Age differences in mobile service perceptions: Comparison of Generation Y and baby boomers. Journal of Services Marketing, 22 (7), 568-577. Niemela-Nyrhinen, J. (2007). Baby boom consumers and technology: shooting down stereotypes. The Journal of Consumer Marketing, 24 (5), 305-312. Reisenwitz, T. & Iyer, R. (2007). A comparison of younger and older baby boomers: Investigating the viability of cohort segmentation. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 24 (4), 202-213.
Roberts, J. A. & Manolis, C. (2000). Baby boomers and busters: An exploratory investigation of attitudes toward marketing, advertising and consumerism. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 17 (6), 481-499. Wong, M. , Gardiner, E. , Lang, W. , & Coulon, L. (2008). Generational differences in personality and motivation: Do they exist and what are the implications for the workplace? Journal of Managerial Psychology, 23 (8), 878-890. Yang, K. & Jolly, L. D. (2008). Age cohort analysis in adoption of mobile data services: Gen Xers versus baby boomers. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 25 (5), 272-280.