Close to 15% of Canadians are older than 65, and it's predicted that by 2030, 1 in 4 Canadians will be over 65 years old (Statistics Canada). It's no shock that Canada's population is aging, but what surprises many is how Internet savvy seniors are becoming.
he number of seniors on the Internet is growing faster than any other age group in Canada. Statistics Canada reports that 60% of Canadians between 65 and 75 are now regular Internet users. A CARP (formerly the Canadian Association of Retired Persons) poll found that 53% of their online users have been using computers for over 20 years.
Over in America, the PewResearch Internet Project has found that once on-line, seniors jump into the Internet like any other age group with over 80% of online seniors surfing weekly and over 70% surfing daily. Statistics Canada finds 44% of online seniors surf more than 5 hours a week.
PewResearch found that the most affluent seniors are the most likely to be online, with a whopping 90% of higher-income seniors being regular Internet users. Educated seniors also use the Internet more often, with 87% of university or college educated seniors being regular Internet users.
Seniors use the Internet for a range of purposes, but mostly it's to connect with friends and family (75%), getting in some shopping (58%) and seeking out health information (53%), according to PewResearch. Social media is still popular with 46% of online seniors using Facebook. But don't expect to reach seniors with Twitter - only a measly 5% are Tweeting. The CARP poll found that 78% of Internet using seniors bank online and 77% pay bills online.
Mobile usage is also growing among seniors, but in a different direction than their younger counterparts. PewResearch finds seniors are more likely to own tablets or e-readers (27%) than they are to own smaller smart phones (18%).
Canada's population is aging. Services and products serving seniors will become more and more prevalent, and profitable, as this population shift occurs. Online solutions will be an important component of this growth market in the years to come, via tablets, e-commerce and even social media.