Digital Refugees


It’s well known that one of China’s biggest challenges is the “ticking demographic time bomb” of its aging population. China now has 249 million senior citizens aged 60 or above, 17.9% of the country’s total population and, by 2050, this will rise to 587 million, which is about one-third. 60 isn’t that old these days (as I keep reminding myself!) but that’s still a significant proportion of such a large population.

However, as a percentage of China’s online population, the ‘60 plus’ group is lagging far behind the rest of the country (and the world). According to the China Internet Network Information Centre “only 6.9% of China’s 854 million internet users – less than 60 million – are over 60 years old. That means that more than three-quarters of people in China who are over 60 years old are not online. By comparison, a recent Pew survey found that 73% of the US’s pensioners are internet users”.

As a result, smart tech companies and NGO’s are focusing on a new customer segment, “Digital Refugees”, to help the silver generation adapt to the changes in consumer technology and to drive new sources of revenue. Having already broken all records in terms of e-commerce and online marketing to younger customer segments, expect to see China lead the world in mobilising the purchasing power of the older generation!

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