Following on from the previous post on Why we connect, the predominant trend (as one might expect) shows that the internet is being used more readily by the younger age groups, but the difference is even more marked when looking at the ‘leisure’ activities, such as social networking and downloading music, movies and so on. The trend is reversed when looking at more practical activities like grocery shopping and online banking, as these activities are led by the middle age groups and more specifically ABs.
More males than females are using the internet for most purposes, except for grocery shopping online (17% of females vs. 10% of males), which again seems to be a bit of an exception. Conversely, using the internet for online gaming, to download/ stream movies and to find a job, are significantly more male-driven online activities.
Most alarmingly however, is that in all cases the 65+ group (in many ways the one that could most benefit from some of these online activities) is the least engaged. The likelihood of being engaged with more activities online does vary slightly by gender and social grade, but age is more of a determining factor for exclusion at this stage. And as was speculated in a previous blog (the bigger and older nation), we really cannot afford to ignore this growing group of the population, as a large proportion of it also has “more time and money to spend than ever before”.
There are two challenges: a) encourage more of the 55% that are connected to take more advantage of the internet, particularly for its functional capabilities and b) encourage the 46% of the people from this age group who currently have no access to the internet to get connected. It seems the government is taking note and trying to be proactive in bridging the digital divide, but only time will tell how effective some of these initiatives will be in the long term. Ipsos MORI’s Tech Tracker (updated quarterly), should help in answering some of these questions in the future.
(Click here to read the first part of this post.)