A recent report by Ofcom (the Government Office for Communications) has revealed some interesting statistics about modern internet use, and the results are particularly interesting for the over 50s population!
The key points made from the study are that around 73% of UK homes now have access to the internet. Five years ago, this was 60% of homes. The biggest area of growth has been identified as the over 55s age group. (Quarter 1, 2010)
Although nearly 80% of 15-54 year olds take up the internet; only 69% of 55 to 64 year olds, half (51%) of 65-74 year olds and a quarter (23%) of 75+ year olds use the internet at home. Despite this drop in take-up with increasing age, much of the growth in internet take-up has taken place among the older age groups with the highest growth among the 55-64 and 65-74 age groups, which grew by 6% and 7% respectively.
This increase has also been found by UKOM (UK Online Measurement – a company who monitor online use) who found the 50-64 age group was the fastest growing group for internet take up over the past year, which saw 14% growth. They reveal that the 50+ population now constitute 31% of the online population in the UK in 2010.
So what are you doing online?
The study shows that although younger people are more likely to use the internet for leisure pursuits to relax and ‘for fun’, older users tend to use it ‘to find out or learn things’ and ‘for contact with other people’, suggesting that older users take a much more functional approach than younger people to the internet.
Around half (53%) of consumers are using the internet to shop and save money, 47% are using “online” vouchers and 61% more likely to use price comparison sites than they were 12 months ago.
Social networking now accounts for around 23% of all time spent on the internet with Facebook the greatest influence in the UK with nearly 25 million unique visitors in the year to May 2010. Although Facebook is currently a phenomena of the younger generation, we are seeing a 7% increase in take-up in the 55-64 age group (to 20% of these internet users).
Development of online technology has enabled us to do things in different ways, like watch TV online, listen to digital radio, order groceries and to participate in new internet only activities, like social networking, participating in blogs and of course internet dating.
Increasingly new ways to access the internet
We now have a range of different devices for accessing the internet; As well as PCs and laptops we also have mobile phones like the iPhone and the Blackberry, and games consoles like the Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii, which allow us to browse the internet as well as play games online. We now have portable media players – devices such as the Apple iPod Touch and Archos 5 as well as newer devices such as the Apple iPad, Dell Streak and various e-reader devices which all enable users to access internet content. We can even go online via certain brands of TVs, for example, certain Sony Bravia and Samsung 6 Series models TVs, and internet radios combine online content with broadcast content.
Traditionally, we had a dial up (fixed line) connection to the internet – it was slow and we needed a separate phone line. These days, with broadband, we can surf the Net at break-net speed, and are able to run a number of devices at the same time – and WiFi, allows us to access the internet across the home – or in city centres or hotel lobbies FOR FREE !
With the continual developments in technology, online security and the increasing range of products and functionality available online, comes the confidence for people to use the internet to achieve a whole range of everyday activities and functions. Online dating is just one of the many facilities available to us now, which we would never have dreamed of 15 years ago. Good luck to all our techies out there and welcome to the new generation!