Rise of the silver surfer – Germany already has more internet users 60+ than teens

Series on Germany, post #5

When reading “the rise of the silver surfer” people outside Europe might first think of the Fantastic Four movie sequel of the same name. For Europeans and Germans in particular it sounds a bit different, since the European Interactive Advertising Association (EIAA) has published a report on 55+ year old internet users entitled “Silver Surfers” back in 2007. Germany has an aging population, so the silver surfers in that latter sense are indeed on the rise.

In their annual online study for 2009, TV networks ARD and ZDF found that 96 % of German 14-19 years olds are online, whereas only 27.1 % aged over 60 are using the internet. However, you need to check out the absolute numbers to get the full picture: there are 5.0 m teenagers online and 5.3 m generation 60 plus which means the silver surfers already outnumber the teens, and their growth potential is huge whereas the teens have almost reached their limit. Today, there are 19.4 m Germans over 60 years old, and this number will increase over the next couple of decades.

Of course, being online is not the same as using social media, and it is still true that younger people are more active on social media, but it certainly isn’t just their domain anymore. E.g. 62 % of German internet users in their forties have used Wikipedia, at least 27 % in their fifties have used video portals such as YouTube, and still 19 % of them used photo sharing sites such as flickr (see exhibit for more information). It is likely that these percentages will increase over the next decade as the digital natives of today will grow older, but even if that wouldn’t be the case, the older users will still soon dominate the social media space in absolute numbers.

See also related posts:

Exhibit: Social media use in Germany by age and gender - Source: ARD ZDF online study 2009 - Translated by Georg Kolb

Exhibit: Social media use in Germany by age and gender - Source: ARD ZDF online study 2009 - Translated by Georg Kolb

 

2 thoughts on “Rise of the silver surfer – Germany already has more internet users 60+ than teens

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