StatsAudienceSenior Surfing Surges

Senior Surfing Surges

The yearly growth of U.S. Internet users over the age of 65 outpaced all other demographic groups by staggering margins.

The fastest growing online population is also the oldest, according to measurements from Nielsen//NetRatings finding that the over 65 group surged 25 percent in a year. Since October 2002, senior citizens online grew from 7.6 million – 5.9 percent of the active Internet universe – to 9.6 million surfers, representing 7 percent of the online population in October 2003.

Audience Profile Growth, by Age Group
(U.S., Home and Work)
Audience
Age Group
Oct 2002
(in millions)
Oct 2003
(in millions)
Growth
2 – 11 12,160 12,211 0%
12 – 17 14,016 14,999 7%
18 – 24 9,300 10,512 13%
25 – 34 20,702 21,380 3%
35 – 49 39,409 39,712 1%
50 – 54 12,078 12,257 1%
55 – 64 13,585 15,632 15%
65+ 7,642 9,554 25%
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

Big gains were seen among female seniors who increased their average number of Web pages viewed per month by 14 percent – compared to 5 percent for males – and the women increased their average time spent online by 6 percent, spending nearly two more hours online.

65+ Online Usage Data, by Gender
(U.S., Home and Work)
Oct 2002 Oct 2003 Change
Unique Audience
Females 65+ 3,528,000 4,604,000 30%
Males 65+ 4,114,000 4,950,000 20%
Average Web Pages Viewed Per Month
Females 65+ 540 613 14%
Males 65+ 890 935 5%
Average Time Spent During Month
Females 65+ 41:23:18 43:42:06 6%
Males 65+ 52:44:19 53:41:00 2%
Number of Sessions per Month
Females 65+ 49 50 2%
Males 65+ 65 63 -3%
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

Jupiter Research (a unit of this site’s corporate parent) echoes the findings of significant growth, noting that older adults (50 to 64) and seniors (65+) were two of the fastest emerging demographic groups online.

The Older Adult (50 to 64) and
Senior Online Population
Percentage of
Older Adults Online
Percentage of
Seniors Online
2003 50% 23%
2004 55% 28%
2005 61% 33%
2006 65% 37%
Source: Jupiter Research

Greg Bloom, senior Internet analyst, Nielsen//NetRatings, comments on the senior growth spurt: “As a whole, the Internet audience is continuing to become more representative of the general population.”

The aging Internet population will be reflected in online shopping, where Jupiter Research noticed that the older adults and seniors – along with kids and teens – would experience the biggest e-commerce gains by 2007.

The senior shopping population will increase from 3 percent in 2003 to 5 percent in 2006, where it will remain over the next year, and the 15 percent of older adults that shop online in 2003 will increase to 18 percent in 2007. All other groups – except for those aged 2 to 17 – will experience declines.

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