The mobile phone industry is missing out on a multi-million pound market by ignoring the needs of Silver Surfers, says a mobile phone comparison expert.
Richard Cappin of DialToSave.co.uk, said with smartphone users set to rocket from 20 million to 50 million by 2015, mobile companies need to wake up fast to the potential of the ‘silver buck’.
By tapping into this demand, he predicts, it could even lead to the world’s first ‘Silver Surfers Superphone’.
“Mobile companies need to look to Silver Surfers for inspiration and ideas because their needs are being ignored,” said Cappin.
“Smartphones are mainly targeted at tech-savvy youngsters and despite growing interest from older people, they are often perplexed by jargon like Android, Symbian and 3G HSDPA. The most frequent question I am asked, and always by older people, is which is the simplest phone that does all the snazzy stuff without the fuss.
“The demand for an all-round easy-to-use handset could one day even lead to a superphone, rather than just a ‘smart’ one.”
Dennis Juul Poulsen, business director of Tweakker, a mobile internet connectivity company, agrees the market for older users is largely untapped. “Older users are looking for features such as larger screens and user-friendly keyboards,” said Poulsen.
“In short, the perfect superphone of the future is a super-clever, feature-rich phone that’s easy to use.”
Over 55s are now the second-fastest growing internet user group and 45-64 year olds are now the second largest group of mobile phone users.
Said Cappin: “There are companies like Emporia, Doro and Binatone promoting handsets aimed at the elderly but those are mainly for the visually impaired, the hearing impaired or those who have little dexterity.
“The elderly are much braver when it comes to technology these days. Don’t forget some of the pioneers of computer and mobile phone technology are now 55 or over. Steve Jobs is 56, Bill Gates is 56 and Tim Berners-Lee, credited with inventing the world wide web, is 55.
“Even David Hasselhoff, who is 58, seems to have a million mobile phones, when maybe just one Superphone will do.”
Mobile phones for the over 55s will be discussed at this year’s 2011 Senior Market Mobile conference in London hosted by Jon Bentley from Channel 5’s The Gadget Show.