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U.S. Internet trends: Are the boomers moving in?

Who would have thought it: Seniors and baby boomers are the fastest growing group on the Web. This week's StatCenter looks at the latest Internet demographics and examines which sites are seeing the most activity, both at work and at home.


More and more Americans have access to the Internet both at work and at home. It has invaded our lives, for better or worse, to the tune of 106 million users, or 53 percent of the U.S. population, according to Strategis Group research cited in The Industry Standard .
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Age groups on the Net
The biggest age group visiting the Internet consists of those between 35 and 44 years old, when measured strictly by use. But in terms of who generates the most page views, the top group falls between the ages of 25 and 34, according to Media Metrix . (See chart 1.) In January 2000, there were more younger (18- to 24-year-old) surfers and more older ones (45- to 64-year-olds), while the in-between age groups actually decreased by a tiny margin (1 percent) over the previous month. Youth represented 17.5 percent of Web surfers in January.

The older groups—which include baby boomers and seniors—made up 20 percent of online users in January 2000, making them the fastest growing demographic groups on the Internet. They tend to spend more time online than others and visit more pages. Lifestyle issues, health, and business are popular topics with this group. Media Metrix predicts this age group is “an online goldmine” with more money and the inclination to spend it.

Internet use at work
According to the February 2000 Nielsen//NetRatings , several of the top 10 sites visited from work were, predictably, search engines (Yahoo!, Lycos, Go, and AltaVista). (See chart 2.) Yahoo! had more than 21 million unique visitors in February. Amazon was number 11, followed by CNET (#12) and eBay (#13). Ask Jeeves was #19 and CNN was #20.

Internet use at home
Not surprisingly, AOL Web sites had the most at-home visitors in February 2000 (46 million). According to TheIndustry Standard (Nov. 1, 1999), 71 percent of those who have Internet access at home log on at night, and 25 percent stay online throughout the evening. (See chart 3.)






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