More than half of over-65s now shop online, figures show

Internet, News

More than half of British adults aged 65 and over now shop online, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The data showed 82% of all British adults bought goods or services online this year, an increase of 5% on 2018.

The figures, detailing household and individual internet use in Great Britain, said 87% of all adults now used the internet daily or almost every day.

The reported rise in online shopping coincides with new figures from the British Retail Consortium, which show the number of empty shops in town centres has reached its highest level since 2015.

This year marks the first time that more than half (54%) of those aged 65 and over – traditionally the age range which uses the internet the least frequently – said they had shopped online.

The ONS figures said 93% of British households now had access to the internet, up 3% on last year and a rise of 23% in the last decade.

Of the 7% of households without internet access, nearly two-thirds said they felt they did not need it, and 33% cited privacy and security concerns as one of the reasons they did not need access.

That is a sharp rise on the last time the question was asked – in 2017 – when only 7% said privacy or security concerns were a factor in not going online.

Since then, a number of high-profile data breaches have affected companies, including Facebook, while internet and social media platforms have come under increased scrutiny over their data-gathering practices and how they protect their users.

According to the figures, 7% of adults have also experienced fraudulent credit or debit card use in the last year linked to their use of the internet.

The most commonly cited security issue was fraudulent email and messages (37%) and being redirected to fake websites asking for personal information (24%).

Sending and receiving emails remains the most common activity online among all adults, with 86% using the internet in this way.

Making video or voice calls over the internet, through services such as Skype or Apple’s FaceTime, also reached 50% for the first time, with usage having trebled in the last decade.

The figures also show that more people use the internet to access an instant messaging service such as WhatsApp (72%) than to read online news (66%).

Chris Price
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