Pensioners embrace online opportunities

The seniors of the so-called Silver surfers market are the latest age group to be recognised as developing a huge enthusiasm for using the web to search for travel products.

Consumers aged between 60 and 69 are increasingly turning to the web for inspiration, said Millennium, a specialist marketing company that has been tracking pensioners’ online behaviour for around five years.

The group has joined the already buoyant over-50s market of silver surfers in becoming one of the key target groups for online travel companies.

Millennium managing director Fiona Hought said: “The growth of the mature market is one of the most important shifts of recent years. They have bucked the stereotypical technophobe image and are snatching the web from the younger generation to emerge as a force to be reckoned with.”

The silver surfer sector has grown massively since 2002, when Millennium unveiled its first report into the market. Just four years ago the over 50s accounted for around 20% of the web population in the UK.

Earlier this year the figure had risen to 25% despite the increasing number of young people using the web with sites such as MySpace.

It is estimated that around 14% of the total online population is over 70 years old.

Hought said: “The over 50s demographic will continue to be big business and ignoring their spending power will be perilous. Unlocking the market’s huge potential is going to require an applied combination of in-depth market knowledge and strategic planning.”

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