Despite how smartphones have changed the digital landscape of our country, it is no secret that the older generation (largely people above the age of 50) are not savvy users. Although India is a booming smartphone market, surveys conducted in 2015 (SOURCE 1 (SOURCE 2) suggest that only 12% of older users (aged 35 and above) use smartphones and the number dipped even further when the age bar was raised to 50.
Along our travels, we decided to seek out this contrast between millennials and the older lot. But along the way, we re-learnt an important life-lesson i.e. you can’t paint everyone with the same brush! Well to be honest, we were looking for the stereotypical 50 (or above) year old man and it didn’t take us long before we bumped into BC Jain, the owner of LAREX tailors, a store that had been established in 1964. Although he was happy to see us and did know about Google, he was still using an older phone and admitted to not using the internet at all. “My working systems are all in place and I don’t need the internet for it” he told us while mentioning how his grandchildren and were tech savvy and clued into things. It did seem that he was just someone who was afraid of technology, a handicap that can pretty much be explained as “we fear what we don’t know” and with a little prodding he did admit that he would definitely like to check out what the internet was all about.
Unsurprised at our findings, we were in for a bit of an impression-changer with Mr. Mukesh Jain, the owner of Kothari textiles in Jabalpur who was happy to tell us that his mi4i was an octa-core processor! In the saree business for 25 years, Mukesh Jain’s love affair with technology began about 20 years back when he bought a windows 846 desktop computer for his son. “I used to spend more time on it than him,” he laughs while adding that “the smartphone obviously has a much faster processing speed.” A man of quotable quotes Mukesh Jain was absolutely well-versed with the world of intagram, fb and the likes, and had even set up a page for his store on facebook. “I google for designs, even though we are a local business; it helps us stay on top of the game,” he says. Citing the example of the Chennai floods, he says that smartphones are a great tool for communication and praises technology for aiding the relief efforts. “Digital is the sign of progress,” he quips. “It is faster and it is the future. It should rank well on speed and affordability.” He isn’t a big fan of data charges and prefers browsing on WiFi. Most of his endeavours on the internet have to do with work and by his own admission, he isn’t big on youtube because it’s mostly entertainment. “Old has nothing to do with technology,” he says. “In fact all old people should take an interest in digital technology. Once you understand it. It really is super-efficient and can be especially useful when it comes to ease and efficiency.”