UKOM (the U.K. Online Measurement Company powered by Nielsen) revealed that people over 50 were responsible for the majority of the increase in U.K Internet usage over the last year.
The size of the U.K. Internet audience grew by five percent from 36.9 million people in May 2009 to 38.8 million people in May 2010. Of these 1.9 million new Internet users, 1.0 million (53 percent) were at least 50 years old.
Men over 50 were responsible for most of this growth, accounting for 722,000 (38 percent) new British Internet users followed by women over 50 who accounted for 284,000 (15 percent) new users.
Following the 50+ age group, women aged 21-34 accounted for 272,000 (14 percent) new British Internet users and ‘tweenage’ girls aged 12-20 who accounted for 231,000 (12 percent).
“The Internet is getting older in more ways than one. Not only is the medium itself maturing but the audience is shifting towards older age groups," said Alex Burmaster, Nielsen's vice president of global communications for online. "This growth is a reminder, if one was still needed, that it is very much a form of media utilized by all age groups. The fact that one in four Britons who use the Internet today are 50 to 64 years old proves it is no longer the sole preserve of the young and technical literati.”
The types of websites where people over 50 years old are most likely to be found are a varied mix of health, video, community, travel, fashion, genealogy, cooking and greeting cards.
People aged 50 or over account for 31 percent of people online. Health website RealAge has the highest concentration of people this age amongst its visitors - 89 percent are aged 50 or over. RealAge is followed by video site Flixxy (80 percent) and community site Saga – of which 78 percent of the audience is at least 50 years old.
Burmaster added, “This age group have a wide appetite when it comes to the types of sites they are using to supplement the interests and needs they have in the daily lives. Consequently, a number of brands across a range of industries, particularly travel, are showing the rest what a valuable medium online is when it comes to reaching a desired audience who haven’t grown up with the Internet.”
|Most Popular U.K. Sites for users over 50 by concentration|
|Rank||Web brand*|| % of UK audience|
50+ years old
| Number of U.K. visitors|
50+ years old (000s)
|7||Hand Picked Hotels||75%||101||Travel|
e.g. in May 2010, 89% of U.K. visitors to RealAge (101,000 people) were at least 50 years old
*Only brands with at least 100,000 Unique U.K. Visitors aged 50+ included