The percentage of the population that uses the Internet on a regular basis stays fairly constant until about age 55. Then it begins to decline steadily, from about 67% for the 50-54 age group to about 16% for people over 75.
Internet use is linked to various socio-economic and demographic indicators, such as age, location, marital status and education. For example, the majority of those aged 65 and over (60 per cent) had never accessed the Internet, compared with just 1 per cent of those aged 16 to 24. While 97 per cent of adults educated to degree level had accessed the Internet, 45 per cent without any formal qualifications had done so.
So what are all these people doing on the Internet? The most frequent activity is still email, although it is being challenged for the top spot by online searches. Other frequent uses include searching for a map or driving directions, looking for information on a hobby or interest, checking the weather, and getting news. Online commerce (shopping, banking, paying bills) continues to grow in popularity, but it is not one of the most frequent activities.
How people use the Internet depends to some extent on who they are.
Men are more likely than women to get news, buy travel services, check sports scores, and participate in online auctions.
Women are more likely than men to get health information, use support-group Web sites, and get information about spiritual and religious topics.
Young Internet users (ages 18-29) are more likely than others to do research for school, use instant messaging, listen to music, use dating sites, and share files according to InfoPlease.
30.1 million adults in the UK (60%) accessed the internet every day or almost every day in 2010, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Marketers can be confident that virtually all segments of the UK population, except some senior citizens and lower-income households, are using the Web more than ever to research products and services and to keep tabs on brand offerings.
The number of adults who bought or ordered goods or services online within the last 12 months reached 31 million in 2010. These Internet shoppers represented 62 per cent of all adults. The most popular products bought online were clothes and sporting goods, with 52 per cent of Internet shoppers buying these products.
Watching television or listening to the radio over the Internet has been growing in popularity in recent years, with 17.4 million adults doing this in 2010, compared with 6.4 million in 2006.
Social networking was also a popular Internet activity in 2010, with 43 per cent of Internet users posting messages to social networking sites or chat sites, blogs etc. Social networking activities proved to be most popular among 16 to 24-year-olds with 75 per cent posting messages, while 50 per cent of this age group uploaded self created content. However, social networking is not limited to young adults, with 31 per cent of Internet users aged 45 to 54 having used the Internet to post messages, while 28 per cent uploaded content.
There were 19.2 million households with an Internet connection in 2010, representing 73 per cent of households. The region with the highest level of access was London, with 83 per cent, the lowest was the North East, with 59 per cent.
Men are more likely to use the internet to:
• Read the news
• Buy travel services or make reservations
• Check sports scores and gather sports information
• Stay updated on political news
• Participate in online auctions, such as ebay
• Write content to publish online
• Download music
• Buy and sell stocks, bonds and mutual funds
A study done in 2007 also showed that on the average men tend to stay online longer and devote more time to online entertainment and researching technical gadgets.
Women use the internet to:
• Get health information
• Read spiritual and religious information
• Gain access and participate in support group websites
62.3% of women use the internet as their primary source for information on the products they were considering purchasing.
51.7% of the women studied use the internet as the primary way to keep in touch with their families
As you can see men go online to be entertained and hunt down information, where women tend to go online to gather information that assists them in nurturing themselves and those around them. Clearly while both men and women generally spend allotments of time online, gender stereotypes are prevalent in what they do with their time online.