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Boomers Reveal Comfort with Online Transactions

Nearly nine in 10 have made an online purchase

November 4, 2013 | Advertising & Marketing | Demographics

One could easily expect baby boomers to be laggards when it comes to using the web. But a September 2013 poll conducted of US internet users ages 50 or older conducted by security firm McAfee indicates otherwise.

The poll found that this group spent an average of five hours online, only an hour less than did those ages 10 to 23. The survey also found a substantial difference when the boomer generation was broken into two age groups, with those ages 50 to 61 spending an average of five hours and 42 minutes online, and those ages 62 to 75 spending an average of four hours and 36 minutes on the web.

Daily Time Spent Online Among US Baby Boomer & Senior Internet Users, by Age, Sep 2013 (hrs:mins)

Where boomers may be substantially different from younger groups is in the devices they use to access online content. Almost three-quarters of respondents used a desktop to access the web, while nearly six in 10 used a laptop. Only four in 10 of boomers used a mobile device to get online, with three in 10 accessing it on a smartphone and one in five via a tablet. eMarketer estimates that 45.3% of the overall population in the US access are mobile internet users.

Devices Used to Access Digital Content by US Baby Boomer & Senior Internet Users, Sep 2013 (% of respondents)

Online boomers are traditional in that they spend the majority of their time online on a desktop. Respondents said they were online on a desktop 53% of the time. Laptops were used 35% of the time, followed by tablets (6%) and then smartphones (4%).

Once online, boomers show little hesitation in jumping into ecommerce, online banking and making online payments. In fact, almost nine in 10 said they had made a purchase online, while almost eight in 10 had accessed their bank account. And more than three-quarters had paid bills online. Boomers’ affinity for financial transactions online indicates a growing sense of comfort with a variety of activities on the web among this group.

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