Even though the 65 and older crowd make up less than 10 percent of current web users, their numbers are growing quickly. Over the last five years the number of seniors actively using the Internet has increased by more than 55 percent, from 11.3 million active users in November 2004 to 17.5 million in November 2009 says Neilsen Wire. Time spent on the Internet by seniors increased 11 percent in the last five years, from approximately 52 hours per month in November 2004 to just over 58 hours in 2009. According to Neilsen’s data, the No. 1 online destination for people over 65 in November 2009 was Google Search, with 10.3 million unique visitors.
“The over 65 crowd represents about 13% of the total population and with this increase in online usage, they are beginning to catch up with their offline numbers,” notes Chuck Schilling, research director, agency & media, Nielsen’s online division. “Looking at what they’re doing online, it makes sense they’re engaged in many of the same activities that dominate other age segments – e-mail, sharing photos, social networking, checking out the latest news and weather – and it’s worth noting that a good percentage of them are spending time with age-appropriate pursuits such as leisure travel, personal health care and financial concerns.”