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~ The report by Whirlpool Corporation in partnership with Ipsos delves into technology usage and preparedness across UAE and Saudi Arabia between consumers of different ages ~
~ According to the study, 66% of seniors in UAE are curious about new technology and 68% of them feel that the latest technology helps them fit in with others ~
With technology evolving at a rapid pace and consumers attempting to keep up with developments, a recent study by Whirlpool Corporation in partnership with Ipsos found a widening gap between different age groups in the region in the adoption, perception and use of technology.
The research report titled ‘Ageless Technology’, found that a technology gap is prevalent between different generations of consumers in the Middle East. 150 respondents were interviewed from the UAE and Saudi Arabia for the report: younger generations, from 18 to 35 years old, middle-aged consumers, from 36 to 50 years old, and seniors, over 50 years old.
Studying the relationship shared by these different age groups with regards to technology is key. This allows brands and businesses the opportunity to understand how technology is perceived and used by consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. The research focused on consumer internet penetration, internet usage at home, time spent online as well as attitudes towards technology, approaches towards new technologies and benefits using smart and connected home appliances. Smart technology in home appliances was also touched on as part of the survey.
Results revealed that younger generations are early adopters of technology in both UAE and KSA while middle aged consumers prefer to wait until new technologies become popular. While the majority of the population believes that technology simplifies their lives, their attitude and concerns differ by age groups. Younger consumers look towards incorporating technology in all aspects of their life. The results showed that the younger generation in Saudi Arabia feels that owning technology would set them apart from others, while the older generation in the UAE feels intimidated by technology, perceiving it as more of a challenge.
However, almost half (43 per cent) of them in Saudi Arabia expressed curiosity about new technology and slightly more (47 per cent) feel that the latest technology helps them fit in with others.
The common point that places all age groups in the same basket is internet usage as, even amongst senior citizens, it was found to be high, at 91 per cent and 74 per cent in the UAE and Saudi Arabia respectively.
The majority of the population spends a minimum of three hours a day on the internet or social media, with the figure peaking for younger generations in Saudi Arabia, who spend over nine hours a day online.
On an average, consumers actively use seven to eight internet-based applications in both markets, while basic and personal communication, such as WhatsApp, was found to be the most pervasive and used by all elderly. Platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Skype and Line, were found to be more popular among the younger and middle age groups.
The report clearly distinguishes a technology gap amongst consumers of different age groups, calling for a need for inclusive learning and awareness in technology. As a first step towards this, Whirlpool Corporation has embarked on a journey to bridge the gap between older and younger generations, bringing them together under the #AgelessTechnology movement. Whirlpool hosted a technology orientation workshop in Dubai, in partnership with Zayed University and Dubai Health Authority, where students helped seniors understand the benefits of using technology and walked them through the steps for using common online applications such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. The students demonstrated how easily technology can be used to stay connected to people around the world, and also make life easier. The company plans to take this initiative to other countries in the Middle East to help seniors understand and operate technology, bridging the gap between generations and creating a more inclusive technology environment.