Surfing Seniors Buy While Others Browse

While younger online shoppers crisscross the Web in search of the perfect deal, surfing seniors are quietly making purchases.

In fact, according to a new study conducted by Westport, Connecticut-based Greenfield Online, Inc., 92 percent of seniors have window-shopped on the Web — and a whopping 78 percent of them have completed transactions. In addition, the study found that online seniors have substantial household incomes that make them players to be reckoned with in the e-commerce arena.

Computer Savvy Seniors

The study also banished the idea that seniors don’t get the Internet and technology. By interviewing 1,265 Web users aged 55 and above, it found this group to be well-equipped computer owners who are savvy about high-tech add-ons such as scanners and digital cameras. They also use e-mail to stay in touch with family and far-flung friends, and some even exchange digital photos of children and grandchildren.

Where Seniors Spend Their Money

When it comes to seniors and their buying preferences, computer software and books top the list. In fact, 43 percent of all wired seniors have bought either item over the Internet, as compared to a 20 percent average among other age groups. Music CDs and computer hardware are also popular choices, and both are bought more readily by seniors than by other demographics.

Additionally, almost a third of seniors have discovered online drugstores and 27 percent of them have made an online purchase — mainly buying over-the-counter products. Only 9 percent of those who have visited an online drugstore have bought prescription drugs. The most popular of these sites is Drugstore.com, with MotherNature.com and PlanetRx.com coming in second and third.

Despite the fact that some analysts see the convenience of online drugstores as an ideal solution for this demographic, only 17 percent of online seniors said that they are very likely to do business with one in the future. Moreover, 56 percent said that they were not very likely to buy any type of pharmaceutical item online.

About The Study

Over 40 percent of the 1,265 respondents to Greenfield Online’s study had household incomes of $50,000 and above. The study also found that 95 percent are computer owners, and that most have owned their computer for three years or longer.

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