New stats from Hitwise show that over 55s, or ‘silver surfers’, are close to becoming the largest demographic age group online.

The largest is currently the 35-44 age group, which accounted for 23.5% of internet visits in the four weeks up to 12th May. Silver surfers had 22% of visits.

Share of UK Internet Visits by Age Group, 4 weeks to 12th May 2007, 2006 and 2005. Source: Hitwise.

Share of UK Internet Visits by Age Group, 4 weeks ending 12th May 2007, 2006 and 2005  

Hitwise’s Heather Hopkins says internet use by the over 55s is consistent with other age groups – their favourite categories are search engines, Adult and Shopping and Classifieds.

Travel and news and media websites are also popular - silver surfers accounted for 27% of visits to travel sites, and 24% of news and media site visits.

The increase in usage, she says, has come from both wealthy over 55s and those on low incomes – visits from low income groups are up by 29% over the past two years, and 30% for the wealthier over 55s.

Further reading:

‘Silver surfers’ prefer internet to DIY and gardening