New study reveals over 65s could be missing out on the UK’s best deals, as Vodafone Foundation and Independent Age launch new Hi Digital platform to help seniors gain digital skills, save money, and feel more connected.
- New study reveals over 65s could be missing out on the UK’s best deals, goods and services if they are reluctant to go online.
- Vodafone UK Foundation and Independent Age offer new Hi Digital resource to help over 65s gain digital skills, save money, and feel more connected.
- Consumer champion Gloria Hunniford backs scheme and gives top tips for the older generation to get online.
- Case study testimonials in Notes to Editors below.
People in later life who have reservations about using the internet could be losing almost £1,000 a year by not being computer savvy, according to a new study.
With nearly half (45%) of over 65s admitting they don’t feel completely comfortable going online, and the cost-of-living crisis set to deepen this autumn, new research by Vodafone UK Foundation suggests many older people could face a further squeeze on their living standards due to their concerns about using the internet to shop around for the best deals or pay for goods and services.
Over 65s who are not fully at ease using the internet could be forking out on average an extra £97 on clothes, £158 on entertainment services, £184 on travel and missing out on £156 of state entitlements – adding up to a potential loss of £909 per person each year.
Importantly, the implications aren’t solely financial. The research also highlighted that two-fifths (38%) of older people who have reservations about going online feel forgotten when ‘digital first’ is the default option, while 34% are more likely to feel stressed when services require an online action, such as booking a doctor’s appointment using a website.
Of those who’d benefit from learning online skills, two-fifths (41%) in this group felt they’d been prevented from improving their digital skills because they didn’t know where to look for help. And of those who already felt very comfortable online, more than a quarter (27%) said they would benefit from learning new digital skills.
Hi Digital launch
Consumer champion Gloria Hunniford has teamed up with Vodafone UK Foundation and national charity Independent Age to launch Hi Digital, a programme designed to help the over 65s develop their digital skills, save money and feel more connected.
Hi Digital is a free online resource that offers step-by-step advice on digital essentials such as using a search engine, online shopping, accessing news and keeping in touch with family and friends.
Working with Vodafone UK Foundation, Independent Age will be promoting the resource to people over 65 and their friends and families, linking to the resource from their own website and working with their teams and volunteers on the ground in communities to help expand the reach of Hi Digital. The goal is to help 50,000 older people improve their digital skills in the next year.
Gloria Hunniford, TV broadcaster, said: “At long last, I’m relatively comfortable online – but I absolutely understand older people’s concerns. There are so many benefits to taking the plunge – from making financial savings, which are so vital at the moment, to keeping in touch with loved ones and feeling less isolated.
“I’m delighted that Vodafone UK Foundation has created this learning programme, especially to help build up older people’s digital confidence. I urge everyone to take a look – maybe you could use it to help a friend, neighbour or an older person in your community.”
Other key findings from the study show that half (54%) of those who expressed some doubts about fully embracing the digital world said this was due to concern about scams and online security; not knowing how to fix something if it goes wrong (49%); and finding the pace at which the digital world changes too hard to keep up with (38%).
Traditional chores for over 65s could be revolutionised through the internet; however, currently only a quarter (26%) feel very comfortable claiming benefits digitally and less than a half (45%) say they are very comfortable booking a doctor’s appointment or ordering a prescription online.
Nicki Lyons, Vodafone’s UK Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director, said: “Our everyone.connected campaign is helping people access the connectivity, devices and skills they need to live life to the full. We understand why many older people aren’t comfortable online and wanted to create a programme especially for them.