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BizReport : Research archives : December 21, 2009

Seniors becoming more active online

When it comes to the most active online populations, most advertisers believe those in the middle - between the ages of 30 and 45 are the most active. In many senses they are but one of the fastest growing online demographics is the senior demo. In the past five years the senior set has become 55% more active with nearly 18 million active seniors now checking online content.

by Kristina Knight

The total senior population is still only about 10% of the total Internet audience but seniors are making inroads in areas where younger consumers were previously leading. Senior women, especially, are heading online fast with senior women outpacing the growth of senior men by about six percentage points.

Another reason for marketers to take notice of the growing senior population? They logging on - and staying online - longer that other demographics. According to a Nielsen report seniors have increased the time they spend online by more than 10% over the past five years and are now staying online for about 58 hours per month.

"The over 65 crowd represents about 13% of the total population and with this
increase in online usage, they are beginning to catch up with their offline numbers," said Chuck Schilling, research director, agency and media, Nielsen's online
division. "Looking at what they're doing online, it makes sense they're engaged
in many of the same activities that dominate other age segments - e-mail, sharing
photos, social networking, checking out the latest news and weather - and it's
worth noting that a good percentage of them are spending time with age-appropriate
pursuits such as leisure travel, personal health care and financial concerns."

What are seniors doing online?

• 88% are checking email
• 68% are mapping destination points
• Nearly half are reading news updates (Political) and 37% are reading business news
• 39% are planning vacations

Seniors are also becoming more social with nearly 8 million logging on to Facebook. Video is beginning to capture seniors' attention with 8.2 million using Windows Media Players and 7.6 million checking video clips on YouTube.

Tags: baby boomers, demographics, Nielsen Online, online advertising, seniors

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