Older Australians have taken to the internet in droves in the past 12 months, with 89 per cent of the over-65s saying they accessed the net last year, up from 59 per cent the year before and a 1000% increase in their use of tablet devices.
The annual Sensis e-Business Report, released today, shows the increase in internet use followed a big jump in ownership of home computers and tablet devices during the past year among those aged 65 and over.
In the past year there was a 23 percentage point increase in people 65 and over who said they have a computer at home (up from 59 percentage points to 82 per cent).
Among older people, the increase in ownership of tablet devices such as an iPad or Galaxy jumped even more dramatically. Almost one in five (19 per cent) now own a tablet device compared to one in 50 (2 per cent) just a year ago.
Use of social media more than tripled during the past year among over 65s, with 27 per cent saying they have used social media sites in the past year, up from 10 per cent last year.
Interestingly, almost half (49 per cent) say they use social media less than once a week, whereas 42 per cent of the total population say they use social media several times a day.
Report author, Christena Singh, said the results showed a significant number of Australians aged over 65 were embracing the internet.
“I think 2012 will be remembered as the year that older Australians got online. It’s interesting to see that many are choosing to do this with a tablet device rather than just their home computer.”
The report also found interesting differences in the ways older Australians used the internet compared to the broader population.
”The over-65s are less likely to shop online and when they do they shop a little differently, with a bigger emphasis on books and less emphasis on clothes, accessories and shoes,” Ms Singh said.
“The main reasons they give for using the internet are the same as those for other age groups: looking for information on products, services and suppliers, and looking up weather details.”
Of the 44 per cent of people 65 and over who have shopped online, 58 per cent have bought books (compared to 43 per cent of all those who bought online) , 37 per cent bought airline tickets (45 per cent), 33 per cent clothing, accessories and shoes (48 per cent), and 27 per cent music (37 per cent).
“Interestingly, using a mobile phone to access the internet hasn’t yet caught on with the older age group, but this may change over time” Ms Singh said.
Only 11 per cent of people over 65 say they have gone online using their phone, compared to 58 per cent of the total population. This figure is as high as 88 per cent in the 20-29 age group. The full report is available online at www.about.sensis.com.au.