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Most U.S. Seniors Now Online

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Saturday June 9, 2012 )

If your online business isn’t addressing the wants and needs of senior surfers, you may be leaving a big chunk of change on the table.

Back in the late 90’s I used to train mature age folks in using the Internet. Something common I found in just about all those people was an initial resistance, suspicion or even hand-shaking fear before the first lesson and then enthusiasm afterwards. The key was making the training relevant – determining the person’s interests prior and then centering the lesson around those interests.

In those days, online seniors were still very much a minority, but things have certainly changed – some achieving somewhat celebrity or geek status among their peers, just through being able to navigate the Internet or send an email.

Even as recently as August of 2008, only 38% of adults age 65 and older were online. According to a recent survey from Pew Research Center, 53% of American adults age 65 and older were using the internet or email in April 2012. This marks the first time that half of seniors are going online.

As was indicated in my previous training experience, once that initial fear is gone; the Internet features heavily in seniors lives and they tend to become fervent users. Pew says among Internet users age 65 and older, 70% use it on a typical day. In regard to adults ages 50-64, 77% use the Internet daily.

Among the “G.I. Generation” – those aged 76 years or older), Internet adoption is still slow, with only 34% going online. This is destined to increase of course as those in younger groups continue their online activities as they age.

The silver surfers aged 65 and older are also embracing social networking; growing from 13% participation in 2009 to 33% in 2011.

Email is certainly a favorite activity; with 86% of internet users age 65 and older using email and almost half (48% )doing so on a typical day.

Pew’s “Older adults and internet use” survey report can be viewed here.

Pick up some tips for marketing to seniors online


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