Which smartphone do older users like more than younger users? (You may be surprised)

Verizon Wireless user reviews broken down by age group reveal interesting data

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Now this is a phone you can understand.

Image credit: Flickr/Image credit: globochem3x1minus1 via Flickr

I need a new smartphone for personal and professional reasons, so over the weekend I was researching devices online at Verizon Wireless, to which I pay enough each year for the multiple devices and data plans in my household that I should be mentioned in Verizon's annual earnings report.

I was looking at two particular smartphones -- the iPhone 5 and the Samsung Galaxy SIII. What I found interesting were the reader reviews, particularly how they broke down by age group.

Here's how the Galaxy SIII ratings (more than 2,400 total) looked demographically:

Ages 17 and under: 4.7 rating (and 92% of customers recommend product)
18-24: 4.4 rating (87% recommend)
25-34: 4.0 rating (74% recommend)
35-44: 4.2 rating (81% recommend)
45-54: 3.9 rating (73% recommend)
55-64: 3.7 rating (60% recommend)
65 and over: 3.3 rating (45% recommend)

Notice that with just one exception, the ratings kept dropping as we moved into older age groups.

Let's try the same exercise with Verizon Wireless's iPhone 5 reviews (numbering more than 1,600):

Ages 17 and under: 4.4 rating (90%)
18-24: 4.8 rating (99%)
25-34: 4.5 rating (86%)
35-44: 4.3 rating (84%)
45-54: 4.3 rating (81%)
55-64: 4.5 rating (89%)
65 and over: 4.7 rating (95%)

In the case of the iPhone 5, the ratings are highest in the youngest and oldest age groups, bottoming out roughly in the middle.

As a consumer and smartphone shopper, I'm curious as to why that is. My guess is it's about ease of use. The ease of use percentages tracked the overall ratings pretty closely. In other words, older age groups generally found the Samsung more difficult to operate than did younger groups, while the iPhone 5 got higher ease-of-use ratings from the 55-64 and 65 and over age groups than it did from the 45-54 groups.

But why is that? Is it because the iPhone has been around longer? Because older people's children and grandchildren have taught the gray-hairs how to operate the iconic Apple device? Or is the iPhone simply a more intuitive device?

And is it a bad thing for Apple, brand-wise, to find itself being embraced -- at least based on Verizon Wireless customer ratings -- by older consumers? It reminds me of that great Galaxy SIII commercial from last year where a young guy is holding a spot for his parents in what obviously is supposed to be an iPhone queue.

Anyone have any theories about why the iPhone 5 rates higher with older users than many younger iPhone users? Or why the Galaxy SIII is disliked by so many in the 55-plus age group?

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