App developers still need to win the trust of older generations

July 17, 2015

More apps are catering to the needs of seniors than ever before but trust remains a major obstacle in app downloads among the older generations.

It is, perhaps, natural to think about apps as a young person’s playground.

Though much research shows that 50+ are one of the fastest growing markets for mobile devices, there is a dearth of mobile apps for our generation.

This may soon change as the number of apps offering real value to the 50+ age group continues to grow. This was underscored by news from the recent AARP 50+ Live Pitch event, held in May in Miami Beach. Entrepreneurs were more focused than ever on mobile apps to help 50+ generations.

Not surprisingly, a key focus in mobile app development for Seniors was health. Nearly half of the 15 products presented at the AARP 50+ Live pitch were in the mobile health category.

In terms of physical health, most of us are aware there are a large array of mobile health apps that can help all of us (regardless of age) track our health – ranging from Fitbits to apps with more serious medical applications.

There is a growing number of apps are out there that can help Seniors stay mentally sharp. In fact, the winner of the audience award at the AARP 50+ Live Pitch entrepreneurs’ event was Constant Therapy, a brain game app for those suffering from strokes or dementia.

Constant Therapy


Most people have heard of apps like Lumosity that train your memory and attention with games, but this new class of apps like Constant Therapy and clevermind are aimed to help at those who have already begun experiencing medical problems.

Independent living is another important area that apps can add real value to seniors. I recently ran across Seniorly, a product of a San Francisco startup, which allows seniors to find affordable and like-minded independent or assisted living housing, when people aren’t able to live by themselves anymore.

(I also think this start-up is admirable because it was started by two Millennials, and it’s a great sign that the younger generation has its eye on our market.  After all, all of us are aging, and it’s nice to know that there will be apps to help us along the way!)


Seniors don’t download as many apps

All of this positivity and development is fantastic but there’s a major hurdle that the app industry needs to overcome – seniors are less likely to download apps than others.

There are many reasons for this, but research (including ours) points to concerns about privacy and security, as being chief among them.

Our own recent AVG surveys show that 50+ generations have concerns about

  • Security of data and files (70%)
  • Keeping data private (48%)


Boomers and Tech


In general, our AVG research also found nearly 50% of consumers surveyed say a lack of trust limits the amount of apps they download. More than one-in-seven mobile media users are uncomfortable sharing personal data, such as location or contact details…

Is it little wonder that Seniors are concerned? We’ve all seen the rise in security breaches in the news in the past year (impacting major brands we use like Target and Sony to name a few), where millions of people’s credit card info has been put risk… But this is particularly troubling with healthcare info breaches such as those experienced Anthem and several BlueCross providers.  Healthcare data is among our most sensitive information.

As I noted in my recent AVG blog on the topic, IT security has to be a priority for all businesses, but particularly when it comes healthcare, where the stakes are so high and the impact has the potential to go well beyond financial!

July 17, 2015