How Older Adults Access Resources Online

Tech Spotlight 2022

Over the past 2 years, GetSetUp has delivered millions of virtual learning experiences to older adults through their social learning platform. This experience has provided unique data and insights into what devices, browsers, and apps are used by older adults, what this group struggles with, and why certain platforms fail to get adoption.

This report shares the insights leveraged by GetSetUp to build a frictionless experience for older adults. GetSetUp believes using technology successfully is a requirement for older adults to live long, healthy, happy, and active lives. GetSetUp hopes this report is useful to anyone building technology who wants to expand their market to older adults.

Our Data

The sample size used in this report reflects a subset of the GetSetUp audience in the US, Australia, and India from February 2022 to September 2022.  

Primary demographic: 55-75 years old

Report subset user size: Over 76,000 global users

  • 949 residents of Australia
  • 20,794 residents of India
  • 57,715 residents of the United States

Report subset attendances: Over 1.3 million global attendances. The % of users who accessed GetSetUp by device type and by browser or app was analyzed as was the % of GetSetUp classes attended from device type.

*Users were not tracked across devices

*Users whose location couldn’t be pinpointed were not included

*Attendance counts a unique user each time a class is taken

*Comparisons to total internet traffic sourced from Statcounter

Top Insights

GetSetUp has been providing older adults with the tools and resources they need to keep up with technology and live healthier and happier lives as they age. As part of that effort, it has a unique opportunity to understand how older adults are accessing the internet and consuming digital content.

  • It’s clear that how older adults are using technology has changed. COVID has seen more and more older adults using a wide range of devices which means there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this audience.
  • In the United States, desktop devices are still the most common form of media consumption for virtual learning and health.
  • But, mobile devices are still the dominant device for passive content consumption.
  • Consumption by different US states varies based on the quality of internet infrastructure and availability of newer devices.
  • In India and Australia, mobile devices outperform desktops for virtual learning.
  • Developing browser-first solutions for engagement is key to reaching a wider audience.
  • Applications and websites that aim to make the user experience as seamless as possible across multiple devices have a greater chance of being used and picked up more effectively by older adults of a variety of ages.
  • The variations in device types make it very challenging to build LIVE streaming technology that can scale across platforms.
  • Chrome is a dominant browser with the 55+ group allowing sophisticated video streaming applications to be built that was not possible over Internet Explorer.
  • While Zoom became the de facto standard for video-based sessions, older adult learners were 11x more likely to attend class in our browser Lounge than enter the Zoom classes.

For Further Research

We will continue to build, test, learn and evolve the technology we build for older adults. We welcome collaboration from others on the topics below and many more! Reach out to us at partner@getsetup.io.

  • Longitudinal studies can highlight how technology usage changes over time as older adults feel more comfortable with different tools.
  • While desktops lead in terms of the number of users, in the U.S. more classes are attended from mobile devices. Further research is needed to understand what is driving device choice and attendance patterns. Also, a few newer browsers and apps appeared in very small numbers in the data set. Their adoption and usage should be tracked to understand how they are introduced to the older market.
  • Further research can look at how disparities in wealth affect browser choice to see if there is a correlation between greater resources and the use of specific devices, browsers, and apps by older adults.
  • Further research is needed to analyze how many users have multiple devices and how they choose to use them.
  • The US states with larger areas of rural populations appear to utilize the desktop more than their mobile devices. Further research is needed to break down technology usage in rural vs urban areas within each state.
Download data by country and state
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