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The Generation Technology Forgot

Published:17 November 1999
Fieldwork:6 Aug-27 Sep 1999
Keywords:Internet, Older people
(Click on keywords to find related Research)

Which? Online Over 55s survey reveals surprising numbers of silver surfers in Britain

Nearly 1 million over 55s in Great Britain are regularly using the Internet, according to new research released today. Commissioned by Which? Online, the Internet arm of Consumers' Association and conducted by MORI, the research found that online shopping and email are amongst the most popular features of the Net for silver surfers. This research was conducted to investigate trends identified by the 1999 Which? Online Annual Internet Survey, released earlier this year.

The general trend in Britain of an increase in online shopping is almost as prolific in the over 55s age group. Thirty two per cent of respondents had already bought something online and 6% of Internet users over 55s regularly use the Internet for online shopping compared to 11% of 15-54 year old Internet users. The most popular online purchases for over 55s are books (13%), flights (12%), and computer hardware and software (11%).

Fifty one per cent of Internet users over 55 are using it for email correspondence with family and friends, and 21% of respondents said that use of email was what they liked most about the Internet. Forty five per cent are using the Internet for education or information - this was the most popular aspect of the Internet (29%).

Alan Stevens, editor, Which? Online explained: "The myth of the stereotypical Internet user as a young, male 'anorak' is simply not the case any more. As society becomes increasingly dependent on the Internet, people who are not online will find themselves missing out on its benefits. This research shows the over 55s group, traditionally seen as reluctant to adopt technology, find the Internet convenient and easy to use and more needs to be done to encourage and educate more to go online."

About Which? Online (www.which.net)
Which? Online is the 1999 winner of the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) award for best Internet Service Provider website.

Which? Online is the Internet arm of Consumers' Association and is one of the UK's top ten Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Its subscribers enjoy access to the complete range of Which? publications as well as unlimited access to the Internet. Which? Online brings subscribers the latest developments in the consumer world, while retaining the key strengths of Which? - informed, impartial, independent advice on a wealth of consumer goods and services. The Forum section of the web site offers subscribers the opportunity to send their questions and queries on a range of issues to Which Online's panel of experts.

About Which? Web Trader
The Which Web Trader Scheme is designed to make sure consumers get a fair deal and to provide them with protection if things go wrong. Which? Web Traders agree to meet and abide by CAs Code of Practice for web traders to provide a safe and convenient online shopping for consumers.

The Which? Online/ISP service gives subscribers unlimited Internet access, an email address and personal web space - plus content from the Which? portfolio of magazines and books. The service costs £7.75 per month (or £4.75 Which? magazine subscribers).

A copy of the latest Which? Online Annual Internet Report (September 1999) is available from Firefly Communications, priced £20. Please call Scott King on 020-7386 1536

Technical details

From 6-9 August and 10-13 & 24-27 September 1999, MORI conducted 118 face-to-face interviews with respondents across Great Britain. The interviews were carried out in respondents' homes, using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI).

Quota sampling was used to ensure that the demographic profile of the sample matched the actual profile of the country. The sample is this representative of all adults in Great Britain aged 55+.

The data were weighted for social class, standard region, unemployed within region, cars in household and age within sex to adjust for discrepancies in sampling coverage and to ensure they were representative.

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Which Online?

Barbara Herron
Natasha Woollard
Liz Greene
Firefly Communications

t: 020-7386 1591
w: www.firefly.co.uk

Alan Stevens
Jo Patterson
Which? Online

t: 020-7830 6000
w: www.which.net

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