Analysis

Over-55s more likely to shop online than under-25s

So-called ‘silver surfers’ are more likely to shop online than the generation that has grown up with the internet, according to a new study from the British Population Survey. While under-25s are driving the move to use the web as entertainment, over-55s are more likely to use the web to make purchases.

More ‘silver surfers’ shop online than the generation that has grown up with the internet, a new study has found.

A report from the British Population Survey found that there are three people aged 55 or older shopping online for every two people aged under 25. The Internet – Engagement and Use in Britain quizzed more than 250,000 people in face-to-face interviews to find out who has, or has not, access to the internet, and how this has changed in the last three years. It found that while under 25s, which it dubs the iLifer generation, are more likely to take part in downloading music and films, social networking and onine gaming, it is the older internet users who are keener shoppers.

Mike Hare, research director, said: “Our latest figures are starting to reveal distinct differences in attitude to the internet between the generations. While the Silver Surfers tend towards the more practical and economic benefits, iLifers regard the internet as a source of entertainment and social activity.”

The survey found that access to the internet grew faster in 2010, with 2.75m new users, than in 2009. Over-65s are the fastest growing group of new internet users and now account for one in 10 British users. In all, eight out of 10 Britons now have the internet, while five out of 10 shop online and four out of 10 use online banking.

However lower social and income groups are twice as likely not to have the internet.

Hare said: “From the Digital Britain perspective it should be a cause for thought that we may be in danger of creating a regressive state. We need to think carefully about the fact that we have over 10 million people, or one in five of our population, without internet access, and that out of those, three-quarters have only GCSEs or NVQ1 or no qualifications, 40% of them are in the D and E social grades, 70% are over 55 and 70% live in the North and Midlands.

“Perhaps it is time to start regarding truly national internet access as a measure of a progressive society as much at home as we do in other countries.”

6 comments on “Over-55s more likely to shop online than under-25s

  1. tnr14 said:

    as the saying goes…’you’re never too old’ http://bit.ly/h9mOSO

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  2. This makes sense, but completely not what you would expect http://bit.ly/dLP7Uz maybe because I shop online and am under 25#

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  3. Richard Hope said:

    You need to be careful with statistics and claims based on them. This survey seems to confuse intention and lifestyle / habit with actual situation and action. For example,it’s conclusions seem to ignore the facts that 1 in 5 of last years graduates are still unemployed and hence won’t have money to buy anything online, and many more twenty-somethings are still living at home (with their silver surfer parents) as they can’t afford a place of their own thanks to the property boom (‘and bust,no more’ as promised by G. Brown Esq.). So if the silver surfers are managing the household shopping, the ‘lifer’ won’t be – that’s another potential online purchase made by one generation and not the other – hence not by generational attitude to ecommerce but by financial circumstance.

  4. simonharrow said:

    Over-55s more likely to shop online than under-25s http://j.mp/hQ60J0

    This comment was originally posted onTwitter

  5. ErikvBel said:

    Interessant artikel Over-55s more likely to shop online than under-25s http://bit.ly/fVMVtI #UK #silver #surfers #webshop #online #shopping

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  6. aurorissima said:

    I like “silver surfers”! http://ow.ly/1b9Tg7

    This comment was originally posted onTwitter

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