Baby Boomers and seniors now spend more time online than watching television, according to a report by Ipsos and Google.

On average, seniors and Boomers (defined in the report as those age 45 or older) spend 19 hours a week online, but they spend 16 hours watching television. Their online usage also far outpaces time spent listening to the radio and reading newspapers/magazines.

Below, additional key findings from the report, Reaching Today's Boomers and Seniors Online, which was based on an online survey of US adults.


  • The Internet is the top source for gathering information on topics of interest for Baby Boomers and seniors, outpacing television and print media by a substantial margin. 

  • News and weather is the most popular type of information accessed by Boomers and seniors online (66% accessed in the past month), followed by shopping (57%), coupons/discounts/daily deals (45%), food information (44%), and games (43%).

Online Video 

  • 54% of Boomers/seniors watch online video, compared with 65% of the general population.
  • YouTube is the most popular video site (used by 82% of Boomers/seniors), followed by Facebook (43%), Netflix (23%), and Hulu (23%).
  • The top motivations for viewing online videos include being entertained (63% of respondents), watching funny videos (51%), relaxing (44%), and staying up to date with the latest news (40%).

Social Networks

  • Facebook is the most used social network, with membership on par with that of the general population.
  • Common activities seniors and Boomers engage in on social networks include following groups/organizations (55%), posting/watching videos (40%), supporting causes (26%), and joining groups (23%).
  • Social networking sites are used by the majority of Boomers (71%) and seniors (59%) daily. 


  • Mobile usage is still developing among Boomers and seniors: 29% use a smartphone regularly (compared with 48% of the general population), and 19% regularly use a tablet (compared with 25% of the general population).
  • Those who use mobile devices engage in a variety of activities, including looking for information, making purchases, and visiting websites of interest.

About the research: The report was based on a 15-minute online survey of 6,100 US respondents (5,100 Boomers/seniors age 45+ and a general population control cell of 1,000 people) conducted in March 2013.

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How Baby Boomers Use the Web, Social Networks, and Mobile

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji