Update on Internet Usage by Generation

by Jason on February 11, 2009

internet survey resultsThe Pew Research Center has released some very informative data on the shifting landscape of Internet usage by age group under its Pew Internet & American Life Project.  For the sake of time, we have recapped some key findings below that matter most to Internet Advertisers trying to engage and connect with various age groups.  The majority of this data was collected via telephone surveys from August 2006 – August 2008 and has a 4+/- % margin for error.  For the full report, go here.

PIP Survey Highlights

Generation X (Internet users ages 33-44) continues to lead in online shopping. Fully 80% of Generation X Internet users buy products online, compared with 71% of Internet users ages 18-32. Interest in online shopping is significantly lower among the youngest and oldest groups; 38% of online teens buy products online, as do 56% of Internet users ages 64-72 and 47% of Internet users age 73 and older.

This dynamic is somewhat predictable but should reinforce confidence to online advertisers for the simple fact that on average, higher income families fall within both the Generation X and Baby Boomer age groups.  Due the frequency of online activity amongst Teens and Generation Y (see report for full details), their adoption to online shopping could be a higher percentage than Gen X within the next 5-7 years; once their disposable income increases then they will more likely spend money using the technology they’ve been raised on: the Internet.

In 2005, half (50%) of Generation Y Internet users had booked travel arrangements online, and, in 2008, that number rose to 65%. During the same time, the percentages of Generation X and older generations to make online travel reservations remained about the same.

Generation X internet users have also maintained their edge in online banking, as they are significantly more likely than any other generation to do their banking online (67%). As Generation Y users get older, however, they have grown much more likely to bank online as well: the percentage of online Generation Y to do their banking online is up from 38% in 2005 to 57% in 2008. There has been no significant growth among older generations when it comes to banking online.

Finally, below are a couple of other key highlights where online marketers should take note — in particular with total usage, videos and the potential reach of viral blog marketing:

Online Activities by Age Group

Online Activities by Age Group


Previous post:

Next post: