Silver Surfers. It’s a term I only recently stumbled across. While to many it’s a comic book character, the term is coming into prominence to refer to people 55 and over who are active online.
The younger “millennial” generation is the one that comes to mind for most people when they think of Internet technology, but they are far from the only ones embracing it. According to a report just released by Experian, Silver Surfers are flocking to the new digital wonderland of the Internet in droves.
Portfolio.com, which is owned by BizJournals, gives us the high point:
The annual Social Media Consumer Trend and Benchmark Reportby Experian Marketing Services shows that although 98 percent of 18 to 24 year olds access social media every month, the 55 to 64 and 65+ age groups are catching up. In fact, it’s the 65+ age group that has grown the most in the past two years, increasing by 49 percent.
The article also notes some other interesting numbers. For instance, the number of parents that try to connect with their children using Facebook has tripled since 2009 — a giant leap from 6% to 18% in only two years. Smartphones also seem to be part of the equation, with one in five users getting on the Internet using their handsets. That’s double the number doing so in 2009.
Another factor that may be having an impact on easing seniors into the online world is the tools available. We live in an age of touch-screen computers, large-print keyboards, and even specialized tech support programs geared towards the older novice.
Then there is the trend towards tablets, which, being larger than phones, can make Web surfing even easier, which I predict will bring another large wave of people online. The Wall Street Journal reports that 483,600 seniors in the United States own an iPad, not to mention the wave of other readers and tablets that are following it onto the market. I predict that number will grow.
Silver Surfers. You’ll see more of them every year many more. That’s wonderful.