Seniors Use Internet for Shopping

Most online seniors are comfortable making purchases over the Internet and have the household income to be significant players in the e-commerce arena, according to a study by Greenfield Online.

Greenfield’s “Surfing Seniors” study found that 92 percent of Web users over age 55 have used the Internet for window shopping and 78 percent have made a purchase online. The online shopping numbers for seniors are significantly higher than those by the Internet population in general, Greenfield Online found.


Most Popular Online Purchases
Seniors All Internet Users
Computer software 43% 19%
Books 43% 21%
Computer hardware 24% 13%
Music CDs 29% 22%
Clothing 19% 8%
Source: Greenfield Online

The study was conducted among 1,265 Web users aged 55 and above, and found this group to be well-equipped computer owners who are savvy about high-tech add-ons such as scanners and digital cameras. The seniors surveyed use email to stay in touch with family and far-flung friends and some even exchange digital photos of children and grandchildren. Despite being in an age category known for pill-taking, they buy more books and software over the Internet than drugstore items.

Almost one-third of online seniors have discovered online drugstores and 27 percent of them have made an online purchase, mainly buying over-the-counter products. Only 9 percent of those that have visited an online drugstore have bought prescription drugs. The top e-commerce site in the drugstore category is Drugstore.com, followed by Mothernature.com and Planetrx.com, according to Greenfield Online.

Although the convenience of online drugstores might seem ideal for seniors, Greenfield Online found that only 17 percent of seniors said they are extremely or very likely to purchase from an online drugstore in the future and 56 percent said they were not very likely to purchase this type of item online.

Nearly 80 percent of 1,265 respondents to Greenfield Online’s study conducted over the Internet were age 55 to 64, and 21 percent were 65 or over. More than 40 percent had household incomes of $50,000 or above. The study found that 95 percent are computer owners and most have had their computer for three years or longer.

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