Research details what online services older adults use

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A newly reported study from the Pew Research Center reveals how involved those aged 50 or more years are in the digital economy, that is, using commercial online services for everything from arranging transportation to purchasing groceries or tickets to events.

The most popular online activity of this type for those aged 50 to 64 and those 65+ is purchasing secondhand goods on websites such as eBay and Craigslist, with 42% and 23% of survey-takers, respectively, reporting having done so in the past, according to the report, “Shared, Collaborative and On Demand: The New Digital Economy,” released May 19. Fifty percent of all adults who responded to the poll reporting purchasing goods from such websites.

The second most popular way adults aged 50 or more years participate in the digital economy is by using programs that offer same-day or expedited delivery of items purchased online, such as Amazon Prime or Google Express, with 30% of those aged 50 to 64 and 20% of those aged 65 or more years reporting having used such programs. Forty-one percent of all adults who participated in the survey reported using such programs.

Only 4% of those aged 65 or more years reported having used a ride-hailing service such as Uber or Lyft, even though 73% of overall study participants who had used such services said they could be a good transportation option for older adults with limited mobility and 51% of nonusers said so. Eight percent of those aged 50 to 64 reported having used such services, compared with 15% of all adults who took the survey.

The Pew Research Center conducted the research from Nov. 24 to Dec. 15. The unweighted survey sample included 4,787 adults, including 1,530 adults aged 50 to 64 and 1,249 adults aged more than 65 years.

McKnight's Senior Living graphic; source: Pew Research Center, “Shared, Collaborative and On Demand: The New Digital Economy.”

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