Baby Boomers and Seniors Fastest Growing Web Groups

The number of baby boomers and seniors online grew by 18.4 percent last year, making them the fastest growing Internet population, according to Media Metrix.

The 1999 Internet Report by Media Metrix shows that this group now comprises 20 percent of total online users, outpacing 18- to 24-year-olds who trail at 17.5 percent. The analysis also shows that 45- to 64-year-olds surf the Internet more frequently, stay there longer, and check out more Web pages than even their college-age counterparts, thereby contradicting the widely-held belief that older Americans are technology laggards.

“Lifestyle- and health-related sites like thirdage.com, as well as business-oriented sites, such as quickbooks.com and customercast.com, are becomingly increasingly popular among older Americans,” said Doug McFarland, Senior Vice President of Media Metrix. “Internet marketers with an eye on the future are discovering how focusing on this overlooked, high-spending audience can be a wise business strategy.”

The spending habits of older Americans make them one of the most desired markets on the Internet today, according to data from the Media Metrix Fall 1999 Q-Metrix findings, which show that 45- to 64-year-old Internet users are more likely than other age groups to own fax and copy machines, large-screen TVs, and satellite dishes. Moreover, the strong consumptive tendency of this age group is not limited to tech-related gadgets. Of all age groups, 45- to 64-year-olds have the most credit cards and the highest usage, as well as the highest percentage of frequent-flier members. They are also more likely to buy a new car rather than lease or buy a used one.

While most adults age 50 or above are more likely to be intermediate Internet users testing the waters of the Internet, their heavy online habits have set them on a fast track to become fully accustomed to the medium. Compared to 18- to 24-year olds, they spend on average 6.3 more days per month on the Internet, stay logged on 235.7 minutes longer and view 178.7 more unique pages per month.

“As older Americans discover more sites geared to their lifestyles, and as they become more comfortable using the Internet, we’re likely to see much of their purchasing migrate to the Internet,” said McFarland.

Top 10 Sites for 45-64 Year Old Audience
December 1999 Home/Work
Rank Sites Unique Visitors
Age 45-64

(000s)
% Composition
of Persons 45-64
1. thirdage.com 489 44.10%
2. shopintuit.com 265 40.20%
3. whoohoo.net 238 41.10%
4. customercast.com 154 43.90%
5. mallandmore.com 145 41.00%
6. datek.com 141 43.20%
7. quickbooks.com 123 43.40%
8. mail2friend.com 116 42.30%
9. jokhoo.com 101 40.10%
10. eboz.com 84 41.90%
Source: Media Metrix


Age Segmentation in Internet Users
Growth in Unique Visitors
January to December 1999
Age Growth
45 to 64 18.4%
35 to 44 6.8%
25 to 34 6.2%
18 to 24 17.9%
Average Days Viewed
December 1999
45 to 64 15.3%
35 to 44 14.6%
25 to 34 15.7%
18 to 24 9.0%
Average Duration
(mins) December 1999
45 to 64 583.5
35 to 44 617.2
25 to 34 704.9
18 to 24 347.8
Average Unique Page Views
December 1999
45 to 64 563.9
35 to 44 642.2
25 to 34 762.7
18 to 24 385.2
Source: Media Metrix Web Report
January 1999 to December 1999

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