Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Internet access continues to gain ground

Lovers of free research are having a field day. Hot on the heels of the excellent Ofcom annual report last week, today, the ONS issued its annual report on Internet access. You can download the full report for free (well, as taxpayers, I guess we have paid for it already) Click here.
Another 1m households in Great Britain now have internet access. At 15m households that's 61% of all households. 84% of thses were broadband connections.

It was the demographics that really interested me. Access to the internet "at least once in the last 3 months" by age group was as follows:

  • 16-24 90%
  • 25-44 80%
  • 45-54 75%
  • 55-64 59%
  • 65+ 24%

On the surface, there really is a dramatic decline in internet use post 65. But the usage by the over 65s has increased from 15% to 24% in the last year making it the biggest % increase of any age group. Those that do use the internet, use it extensively - 46% of over 65 year old regular internet users, check in every day. It's all about a generation which has been used to using computers - at work and at home - moving towards retirement. If you have never used a PC in ernest you are much less likely to take to it in your old age. Conversely if you are completely computer literate, you will possibly use it even more in your retirement. As I have said before, I see the "Silver Surfers", or the 55+ age group, as being the single biggest growth group for internet usage in the period ahead. I also see social networking being of particular relevance to them. I just wish someone would take note!

This age group is already the largest users of News and Finance sites.

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