Survey: Older Internet Users Embrace E-Commerce - InformationWeek

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1/29/2009
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Survey: Older Internet Users Embrace E-Commerce

Gen Y isn't keeping up with predecessors when it comes to online banking and shopping.

Contrary to popular belief, older generations are as active online as members of Generation Y in some respects, according to a recent report.

Members of Generation X are most likely to bank, shop, and seek health information online, according to Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. Surveys taken from 2006 to 2008 show that baby boomers are just as likely as members of Generation Y to make travel reservations online.

Younger generations continue to dominate the Internet, and more than half the adult Internet population is between 18 and 44 years old, according to the surveys. Still the percentage of Internet users in older generations is growing.

The largest increase since 2005 comes from people between the ages of 70 and 75. In 2005, just 26% of 70-75 year olds were online, compared with 45% online now.

Seventy-four percent of Internet users age 64 and up use e-mail more than any other online tool, but the percentage of teens using e-mail has dropped from 89% in 2004 to 73% now. Among seniors, the third most popular activity is researching health information, behind e-mail use and online search.

Members of Generation X (ages 33-44) are the most active online shoppers. Eighty percent of Generation X Internet users shop online, compared with 71% of Internet users ages 18 to 32. Sixty-seven percent of Generation X Internet users bank online.

Teens and members of Generation Y are more likely to turn to entertainment and social networks.

Teens and Generation Y (internet users age 18-32) are the most likely groups to use the Internet for entertainment and for communicating with friends and family. Internet users ages 12-32 are more likely than older users to read and write blogs, the surveys found.

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