For the first time ever, more than half of seniors are now online, says a new report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, boosting e-commerce into the economic lexicon of all demographics.
Seniors getting connected
As of April, says the report, 53 percent of all senior citizens aged 65 and over are now surfing the Web, using social media and communicating via email.
Seventy percent of those seniors, who do use the Internet, do so on a daily basis. For all American’s 18 and over, that 82 percent use the Internet. Sixty-seven percent go online every day.
The largest groups using the Internet regularly are those aged 18 to 29, the report said.
Although seniors still are the age group least likely to go online, and growth has been slow among the demographic, Pew says they are now catching up in the computer age.
According to the Pew Internet Project:
“After several years of very little growth among this group, these gains are significant.”
The Internet is most commonly used by senior citizens for e-mail communication. Pew reports that 86 percent of those using the Internet use it for e-mail. Of those, 48 percent do so every day.
About 34 percent of seniors using the Internet are also making themselves known on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and and LinkedIn. Of those, 18 percent use social media on a daily basis.
Number decrease with age
After the age of 75, fewer seniors are going online. Only about 34 percent of those surveyed over the age of 75 access the Internet. Only 21 percent of those over 75 had a broadband connection at home.
Cell phone use up
The study also said more and more seniors are using cellular devices, as they increasingly embrace digital technology. Nearly 70 percent of seniors reported having a cell phone. That number was 57 percent two years earlier.
However, mobile technology is still a new frontier for the elderly. Of those surveyed, 81 percent did not own a tablet or other portable device.
The report was culled from telephone interviews with 2,254 adults, 18 an over. The interviews were conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, between March 15 and April 3, 2012.