Hitwise reveals that UK Internet users aged 55+, the so-called silver surfers, are set to overtake 35-44 year olds as the demographic age group with the largest representation online. Those aged 55+ accounted for 22% of UK visits to all categories of websites in the four weeks to 12th May 2007, up 54% since 2005 and 40% since 2006. This compares to 23.5% of Internet visits from 35-44 year olds.

The increase has come from rich and poor alike. The Experian Mosaic groups "Twilight Subsistence" (pensioners subsisting on meagre incomes) and "Grey Perspectives" (pensioners enjoying retirement with savings to supplement their pensions) have both increased their online footprint. Internet visits from Twilight subsistence are up 29% over the past two years and visits from Grey Perspectives are up 30%.

Heather Hopkins, VP of Research for Hitwise UK commented, "Among the top categories visited by those aged 55+, Search Engines, Adult and Shopping & Classifieds are the favourites, and are consistent with the most visited categories overall. Silver surfers show a particular fondness for Travel and News & Media websites, with these categories ranking higher among silver surfers. Last week, 27% of visits to Travel websites and 24% of visits to News and Media websites were from those aged 55+."

Money and leisure pursuits are more interesting to silver surfers than other demographic groups. Cruise, Lifestyle - Family, Stocks and Shares, E-Greetings and Yachting and Boating websites receive the highest concentration of visits from silver surfers. Cruise websites, for example, received 48% of their traffic from UK Internet users aged 55+ in the four weeks to 12th May 2007.

Comparing the percentage of UK Internet visits by Mosaic Group with the size of each group in the offline population, the wealthiest groups continue to be more active online than their less well-off counterparts. In particular, "Symbols of Success" and "Urban Intelligence", which are among the groups most likely to earn a household income in excess of ?50,000, are 22% and 31% over-represented online. The groups "Twilight Subsistence" and "Municipal Dependency", which are among the most likely to earn a household income of less than ?7,499, are 37% and 34% under-represented online.