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2m more Britons online than last year

1.9 million more people using the internet; fuelled by 50+ age group who account for 53% of new online users

UKOM (The UK Online Measurement Company) has revealed that people over 50 years old were responsible for the majority of growth in the numbers of Britons using the Internet over the past year.

The size of the UK 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 Britons using the Internet, 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).

Speaking on behalf of UKOM/Nielsen, Alex Burmaster says, “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. This growth is a reminder, if one was still needed, that it is very much a form of media utilised by all age groups. The fact that one in four Britons who use the Internet today from a PC or laptop are 50 to 64 years old proves it is no longer the sole preserve of the young and technical literati.” (See Chart 1)

Chart 1: How UK Internet Audience is composed – May 2010

UKOM UK web population stats

Source: UKOM/Nielsen

The types of sites where people over 50 years old are most likely to be found online are a varied mix of health, video, community, travel, fashion, genealogy, cooking and greeting cards.

This age group accounts for 31 percent of people online (see Chart 1) but health site RealAge has the highest concentration of people over 50 amongst its visitors (89 percent). 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 (see chart 2).

Burmaster adds, "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."

Chart 2: Web brands* with highest concentration of 50+ year old UK visitors - May 2010

UKOM stats on top site for over 50s

About UKOM

The UK Online Measurement Company is a cross-industry organisation set up to specify and oversee the robust measurement of online audiences, to the standards required for the purposes of brand campaign planning by advertisers and agencies. It is run by the IAB and AOP representing media owners, with oversight by ISBA on behalf of advertisers and IPA on behalf of agencies.

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