Retired Man Making Meal In Kitchen Asking Smart Speaker

With a push by the COVID-19 pandemic, the common wisdom that seniors shy away from new technology is fading as 34% of U.S. senior broadband households use smart speakers or smart displays, according to new smart speaker research from Parks Associates.

The firm found that seniors – defined as those 65 years of age and older – are attracted to voice-first interfaces by convenience and low costs. At the same time, 49% of all U.S. broadband households use the technology.

The market research firm says that the pandemic has driven awareness about smart speakers and displays among seniors and their caregivers.

Twenty-six percent of seniors use at least one virtual health or wellness tool, including almost 10 percent that use a health tracking solution. In addition, 76% of these households use a smartphone and 13% use one or more “tested connected medical devices.”

The uptick also is evident in areas not directly related to health. Parks says that seniors have increased their use of entertainment services, video calling, pickup and delivery and other services.

Parks Virtual Health Wellness Tools Chart
Source: Parks Press Release

“There is a myth among service providers that seniors are not tech-adept,” Parks Associates’ President Elizabeth Parks said in a press release about the smart speaker research. “Currently, about a quarter of seniors are using virtual tools to manage their health and wellness, most in the form of patient portals that grant access to health and medical information from physicians. One in ten seniors now use apps and services that track health, fitness, diet, weight, and/or exercise routines. Technology can have real impact and create value for senior adults and caretakers in many different ways.”

Parks released similar research in January. The firm found that during the pandemic 29% of seniors used video conferencing, 27% used telehealth/remote consultative services, 22% used a grocery store delivery or pick up service and 55% have an online video service subscription.

In each of four use cases (smartphone, smart speakers and displays, connected health and smart home) seniors ages 65 to 74 used the technology most, followed by those ages 75 to 79 and then age 80 years and older.

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