Lockdown and the shift of government services to telecommuting during the pandemic have led to an explosive increase in Internet use among people aged 65-74.
“I feel cut off from the outside world, I can’t stand it anymore,” said 67-year-old Irina, complaining to her daughter, and received in response: “What do you want, Mom? a year ago you did not know how the computer opens? ” The dialogue is genuine and took place after a 67-year-old woman was left without the Internet for three whole days due to problems with her communications provider.
Irina M. “learned the computer” a few months after the start of the pandemic, and her main motivation was her daughter, who now lives abroad and has been using the Internet for many years. “My daughter explained to me that we would be able to constantly communicate without spending on the phone, and also told me that I would have access to various information and news from all over the world,” Irina says about how she was finally persuaded to get acquainted with the internet.
Of course, the pandemic and containment measures showed that it was already technologically prepared, but the conditions of the lockdown gave it an incentive to actually start using digital technologies.
In front of the screen
All the time while Irina was locked in the house, unable to move freely, the hours she spent in front of the screen were endless. “It helped me a lot in my loneliness: I get information, find recipes, read comments underneath, watch funny videos, and in general I have access to many things that I could not even imagine before,” she describes and explains that the more time she spends with the computer, the better she learns and learns to use it.
Irina M., of course, is not the only computer discoverer of her kind who “came” to digital technologies during a pandemic. She belongs to a generation that was considered digital illiterate, but over the past year gained access to the Internet, acquired digital skills and became active at a surprisingly fast pace. In the first quarter of 2021, the 65-74 age group recorded an impressive 91% increase in online purchases.
“At first I was hesitant to shop online because I didn’t like the idea of giving my credit card details to the site. My first purchases were made by cash on delivery, – explains 72-year-old Sergei. – But then I realized that the stores will not open in the near future, and I have practically no other options. If I need anything, I now order online. The bank advised me to take a prepaid card (debit card) so that I would not risk losing money and could control my spending, “he describes his story, laughs and says:” I even learned how to use prepaid cards at an advanced age. “
According to Focus Bari’s Focus on Tech Life Tips, the 55-64 age group recorded a 56% increase in online purchases in the first quarter of 2021. In particular, the number of online purchases among people aged 45-54 increased by 29%, and among those aged 35 to 44 – by 23%.
In general, the e-commerce market in Greece in the midst of the pandemic crisis, as expected, demonstrates impressive growth rates. Almost 2/3 of the country’s residents (68%) have made at least one online purchase in the last six months. The most active buying activity is in the age range from 18 to 54 years.
The quarantine measures favored familiarity with the internet, which offered alternatives at a time when many were very lonely. “I have never used my computer, and a few months ago I got a tablet. This happened a few days after the arrival of my first grandson, whom, due to circumstances, I could not visit for a long time,” admits Galina K., who did not want to disclose her age, except that she is over 70 years old and lives in Athens.
“My daughter lives in Lviv, and the only way to see my grandson is via the Internet,” she says. At the same time, she was amazed at how she did it. “They explained everything to me over the phone, and at first I was very confused. I don’t know English, but then I figured it out and I’m no longer afraid. But then the video calls started, ”she says with obvious excitement. – I could not believe what I saw. I saw my grandson, whom I did not expect to see before this whole story is over. On the one hand, I cried because I saw my child’s child, on the other, I was shocked because I didn’t know that now we have such opportunities ”.
In general, the use of the Internet has increased significantly in the context of the pandemic: 96% of the country’s population aged 13 to 74 years use it. At the age of 55–64 years, the corresponding percentage is almost 90%, and at the age of 65–74 years, it exceeds 70%.
Nine out of ten now have their own smartphones (up 10% compared to the first quarter of 2019), with the most significant growth recorded at older ages. The health conditions also brought people less familiar with technology closer to smartphones: possession was 61% higher in people over 65 and 23% in the 55-64 age group.
The more time you surf the Internet, the more chances you have for engaging in social media. Today 78% of Greek residents have at least one social media profile, and seven out of ten (72%) are individuals who use social media on a daily basis. The most common “gateway” in them is still a mobile phone, while 87% of users use the Internet through their smartphones, 81% of them – every day.