Older shoppers, who generally sat out the Internet's first big commercial push, are helping to feed the surging Web economy. Many of them now have a few years of Internet surfing behind them - enough to give them enough confidence to click the "buy" button. And because this group has far more disposable cash than any other, executives who have not already begun tweaking their strategies to reach them will probably do so soon, online analysts and executives say.

"This group has been kind of overlooked until now," said Heather Dougherty, an analyst with Nielsen/NetRatings, an online consultancy. "But the older boomers are far from newbies at this point. We're not talking about people who are 100 years old and haven't seen a computer."

Ms. Dougherty said a recent Nielsen survey found that 27.4 million people age 55 and older bought something online in the last six months, compared with about 26 million a year ago. By contrast, the number of adults who bought something online in the last year actually dropped, to 107.4 million from 112 million.

In October 2004, Travelocity, owned by Sabre Holdings, became one of the first big Internet companies to woo the members of AARP, which caters to people age 50 and older. The agency created a version of its site specifically for the organization, AARP Passport (at http://www.Travelocity.com/AARP).

Philip Charles-Pierre, a Travelocity executive who helps distribute the company's content on other sites, like Yahoo and AmericanExpress.com, said the AARP Passport initiative had helped the company tap an increasingly affluent market. "I was at an AARP conference and someone mentioned what the boomers were about to receive in terms of inheritance, and it's mind-boggling," he said.

Travelocity offers exclusive perquisites to AARP members on the site, like discounts on flights and hotels, cruise-ship cocktail receptions and AARP assistants dedicated to helping members during their cruises.

The initiative has been "extraordinarily successful" on a number of fronts, Mr. Charles-Pierre said. Sales rose 300 percent in the first quarter of 2006 from the same period a year earlier, and visitors to the site book travel at a rate that is "significantly higher" than other sites where Travelocity offers bookings, he said.

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