FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, May 20, 2005

Seniors May Be the Next Hot Online Market

Conventional wisdom has always held that adults over 65 have little interest in the Internet. But now, because that demographic will soon be populated by tech-savvy Baby Boomers, that view will certainly change.

"The current generation of adults over 65 hasn't fully adopted Internet use, in large part because many had retired before online access became common in the workplace," says Debra Aho Williamson of eMarketer. "The next generation of seniors will be very different." The Boomers' more adventurous approach to life may also play a role in their embrace of new technology, in contrast with their more risk-adverse elders. Plus, in wanting to keep up with their children and grandchildren, seniors will find the Internet to be essential.

Williamson's research supports those views. Computer usage has grown steadily among those aged 50-64 and those over 65, though far more of those in the 50-64 category (67%) use computers than those 65+ (31%). According to Williamson, 73.7% of those aged 50-64 will be online by 2008, as will 34.1% of those over 65.

The expected influx of seniors online will have far-reaching effects in the Internet industry, from marketing to content creation to usability. Developers and Internet entrepreneurs will be presented with new opportunities, as well as challenges to common assumptions that the Net is strictly the domain of the young.

Source: eMarketer