Older Canadians Finally Joining the Internet Age: Ipsos-Reid

60% of Those 55 and Older Are Now Online

Sept 20, 2004 Vancouver, BC� Older Canadians are increasing their presence in cyberspace, according to a recent survey conducted by Ipsos-Reid as part of the Canadian Interactive Reid Report. Currently six-in-ten people 55 years of age and older have Internet access, which is a significant jump from the 48% found at this time last year. While adults 55 and older are not as prevalent online as those 18-54 (86%), the gap appears to be closing. In June of 2003, there was a 35-point gap between the Internet access levels of those 18-54 and those 55 or more. However, this gap has closed to just 26 points.

�Compared to younger adults it took older adults a lot of time to embrace the Internet, but it appears that they�ve finally accepted it as a means to communicate, entertain, and educate,� said Chris Ferneyhough, Vice President of Technology Research at Ipsos-Reid.

High Speed access amongst older Canadians is also on the rise. Almost two-thirds (64%) of those 55 years of age and older with Internet access have high-speed Internet access. Not only are older Canadians going online, they are going online with better technology than before.

Older Canadians are also spending more time online than they were in years past. The mean number of hours spent online per week is 9.6 hours, a jump from the 6.8 figure reported at this time last year. They still trail Canadians under 55 years of age (where the mean is 12.5 hours per week), however, the gap is closing. At this time last year, the gap was 5.7 fewer hours per week online, whereas now it stands at just 2.9 hours per week.

While Internet access levels amongst older Canadians are on the rise, they still trail younger Canadians in taking part in different activities online. For example, only 41% of those 55 years of age an older have ever done their banking online, far behind the figure for Canadians under 55 (55%). Forty-one percent of those 55 and over have ever purchased a product or service online, compared to 51% of those under 55 years of age. Older Canadians are also less likely than younger Canadians to use the Internet as a part of their shopping experience. Only 39% say they have ever comparison shopped for a product online versus 55% of those under 55 years of age.

One activity in which older Canadians are matching their younger counterparts is online investing. Thirteen percent of older Canadians have ever bought or sold investments online.

�Marketers need to pay attention to this group of online users as they represent the fastest growing and wealthiest contingent of online Canadians� said Ferneyhough.

The �Canadian [email protected] Reid Report� is the largest, most comprehensive, and authoritative source of its kind about quarterly Internet trends in Canada. The results are based on two separate data collection instruments. In the first, 1,000 Web users from Ipsos-Reid�s Canadian Internet Panel are surveyed online. Panelists are chosen through random telephone surveys conducted on an ongoing basis across Canada. Results are complemented by a further 1,000 interviews via telephone with Canadian adults in order to verify results of the panel and track issues among non-Internet users. Telephone interviews for this release were conducted between June 25th and 30, 2004, while the online data was collected between July 14th and 18th. These data are statistically weighted to reflect the population proportions of regular online users by online expertise and regional distribution. Our panelists represent approximately 14.4 million Canadian adult Internet users who are online for one hour a week or more (there are a total of 17.9 million adults who have Internet access).

With a national sample of 1,000 (for each component), one can say with 95% certainty that the overall results are within a maximum of �3.1 percentage points of what they would have been had the entire population of Canada�s regular online users been surveyed. The margin of error will be larger for sub-groupings of the survey population.

Ipsos-Reid is Canada�s market intelligence leader and the country�s leading provider of public opinion research. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos-Reid employs more than 300 researcher professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in Canada, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos-Reid�s Canadian marketing research and public affairs practices are staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, offering the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada � including the Ipsos Trend Report, the leading source of public opinion in the country � all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Ipsos-Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group. To learn more, visit www.ipsos.ca.