46% of Mac Users are over 55? Makes Sense to Me

13 Comments

I was first made aware of this information from CNet’s Buzz Out Loud Podcast (an excellent podcast, BTW) — according to a study by MetaFacts 46% of Mac users are older than 55 years of age.

I thought that such a figure actually makes sense. I bought my mother an iBook before I ever got a Mac for myself. I’m sure I’m not the only person who purchased Apple products for their parents. If everyone who bought a Mac also bought one for their parents, then there would be a 50-50 split in the ages of Mac users. MetaFacts’ data has the number at 46%.

Instead of playing tech-support and trying to explain Windows troubleshooting, a Mac purchase for a parent could lead to significantly fewer calls. It’s a simple theory explaining the MetaFacts data, but I think it is a good one.

13 Comments

Paolo

My mother started working again, after a long period of inactivity and with no formal IT training, at age 55 and was presented at work with a super old and super slow Mac (the all in one version that came out in the late 80s maybe?). Her experience with the computer world was anything but perfect. Nevertheless, when my father bought a Toshiba laptop with XP Home pre-installed (that had so many hardware problems, in comparison the MacBook is perfect), she just could not use it – she told me she could not find her stuff, the user interface made absolutely no sense to her.
I started seeing what she was saying. Then, a couple of years later (2005), I got tired of my PC and decided to make the switch to Apple (since not only I had enough of the software, ie XP, but also of the noisy and ungly looking hardware) and bought myself a mini. My mum was happy about it and told me I would not regret it (strange to hear that, in a way, from a 60 year old mum on such a topic – she never worked in the computer business, never).
After about a year, my mum (now 64) wanted an iBook 12″ for herself, she wanted WLAN and DSL with flat-rate, my father (64 as well) has dumped last Sept his aging and still troubling Toshiba and got a MacBook. Since 2 months not once he has asked me how to use it. He has managed to do firmware updates, software updates, and simply, WORK and USING it like he has never done on the Toshiba laptop. He even asked me whether we should get an MP3 player for my mum (not once he mentioned electronics for gifts to anybody).
Maybe good tools, enable people to do things – no matter the age.

Coutch

P.S. My 79 year old father bought his own mac mini – no help needed from me – he is sharp as a tack, (no teeth though).

Coutch

Honza,
Just call the lack of a “U” in buy a senior moment.

james,
I have also gotten rid of an ugly,white,gray,silver monster but I had to divorce her.

My lawn’s better than your lawn…

historydoll

I’m 60, and I’ve been a Mac user since 1990. I’m not anybody’s mother or grandmother–like the poster above, I was just smarter sooner!

james

Demographics…

The typical Apple owner is more educated and more affluent than the average Windows PC buyer. So besides ease of use, which might attract older users to Apple, the older crowd might have more money.

FYI: I’m 46 years old with 12 years of technology support, management, and programming experience, but Apple owner for past 4 years. I hated having the ugly, black/gray/silver, PC monster in my living room, and wanted to try something different. I just bought a 24″ iMac, but also have a Windows PC for wife, as well as for my own work from home.

Honza

Hey coutch (post #3) being smart doesn’t necessarily include the ability to spell right? ;-) And to your second point, anyone who by (sic) a Gateway must be of low intelligence :-D

Grant

I have to agree with iyaz, as I purchased a Mini for my 65 year old father two years ago and he will never go back. Did the same with my girlfriend’s mother with an iMac and she too is in love. Of course I did it as much to share the joy as to get out of the tech support business.

I also think that Tom represensts a good amount of Mac users as well. I know many people who were early adopters and can go down the list of 20 something years of Mac usage. I actually know more older people who have been on Macs for years, than I do sub-55 folk that are newer adopters, though I know plenty of the latter as well.

TomL

I’ve owned an Apple ///, then a LISA, a Mac SE, a Mac IIcx, a Mac 6100, a Beige G3 desktop, a Wallstreet Laptop, a TiBook, a 1GHz eMac, and finally a PB G4 (the last PowerBook model manufactured). I’m now 61. There are a lot of folks my age and above that were early adapters in the ’80s and continued using Apples for more than 25 years. I suspect that the early adapters affect the demographics at least to some degree.

Sam S.

I don’t think that the study is completely off track, but I think Macuser.com said it best:
“The most perplexing and laugh-worthy portion of the study to me was the conclusion on which manufacturer most appealed to the 18-24 year old crowd: Gateway. Oh, yes. Nothing appeals to those 18-24 year olds like cow patterns.”

From where Im sitting (in the library during exams), I see about 80% PC, 20% Apple. I’ll stick with my PBG4.

Coutch

Hello?? Did you young “think you know it alls” ever stop to think that the reason many older geeks by Macs is because we are just that much smarter that the rest of you? (The fact that 18 – 24s want Gateways proves my point}…

And, Stay off my lawn!

Scott Stevenson

It may be true and it may not be, but it’s hard to get a sense for anything without knowing what their methodology was. I couldn’t find it on the site. Did they sample 300 people? 3000? How did they gather the data?

The claim about Gateway leading among the 18-24 group seems counterintuitive to me. I might believe HP or Dell, but Gateway? Why?

MisterKen

You know, I noticed an ‘older crowd’ at the Mac Store the last few weeks I’ve been there (I’ve been blessed with the cash to get a few new macs for work). I thought it was just my suburban area. Connected grandma & pa.

This Sunday the place was packed to the rafters with the silver hair crowd. One sales rep showed the guy in front of me Paralells and his only response was ‘are you serious? it can do that?…wrap it up. (to his wife) I’m tossing that damn Toshiba in the garbage…’

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