There are 11.5 million Seniors who regularly access the Internet, defined as those 65 or older. Jupiter expects that number to double by 2010. Whereas only a third of the Senior population is regularly online today, in 2010, online Seniors will represent half of the total Senior population. That makes Seniors the fastest growing segment online. That’s right, they’re growing faster than any other audience, including children and teens.

So how are Seniors different? Simply put, they don’t have the same trust in technology that we find in younger consumers. It’s no surprise that in a recent Forrester survey, only 25% of Seniors somewhat or completely agreed that “Technology has made my life easier”. Only 18% agree that “The Internet helps me get ahead in life”. They can perceive the Web as an intimidating technology barrier, rather than as a source of knowledge or productivity.

While Seniors see the value of interactive media for communications, it’s not a priority commerce channel. They lag in a number of basic e-commerce indicators, including online researching, purchasing online, and in the average amount of each online transaction. But this will change as more and more Seniors come online, and smart marketers can’t afford to ignore this market any longer.

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