Cluster bar chart of use by device type and age

Tech Device Use by Older Americans

Smartphones and computers have the widest adoption among Americans 50 and older, as shown in this cluster bar chart. Tablets are used by over 40%.  Feature phones and e-readers are each used by about 20% of the 50+.  Wearables and home assistants had lower penetration.  These data are provided by an AARP survey.

Adults 70+ are more likely to use desktops and feature phones than Americans in their 50s.  They are less likely to use smartphones, laptops and wearables.  There were no significant differences in adoption of tablets, e-readers and home assistants across the three age categories.

Cluster Bar Chart with Segment Comparison Lines

Cluster bar chart of use by device type and age

How I Created the Cluster Bar Chart

This chart is very similar to the one in the AARP report.  I wanted to try to recreate the chart and use segment comparison lines to denote statistically significant differences among the age groups and within each device type.  The AARP chart used superscripts and I found this harder to interpret.  The segment comparison lines give a visual cue that shows which age groups are significantly more likely or less likely to adopt a specific technology.

Here are the steps I took to create the chart:

  • type in the data from the AARP chart (devices, age groups and percentages)
  • format the chart to remove axes
  • adjust the y axis maximum so that the top of the first bar is closer to the top of the chart
  • add the y axis title (Tech Adoption by Age) and center it
  • choose three contrasting colors for the bars
  • add the legend, move to the top and place under y axis title
  • remove the x axis line
  • add the segment comparison lines
  • for each:
    • remove the number (value)
    • change the line color to a lighter grey and make the line thinner (to make the lines less prominent).

Take This Chart and Make It Your Own

Download this chart and edit it using Mekko Graphics.  See more cluster bar chart examples in our Chart Gallery.

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