December 13, 2007, 12:00 AM

Baby boomers and over-60s are going online in greater numbers

The number of U.S. baby boomers who use the Internet at least once a month will grow to 63.7 million in 2011 from 59.4 million this year, according to “Baby Boomers and Silver Surfers: Two Generations Online,” a new report from eMarketer.com.

The number of U.S. baby boomers who use the Internet at least once a month will grow to 63.7 million in 2011 from 59.4 million this year, according to “Baby Boomers and Silver Surfers: Two Generations Online,” a new report from eMarketer.com.

The number of “silver surfers”-those 62 or older-who use the Internet once a month will increase to 25.3 million in 2011 from 19.2 million this year.

“Baby boomers are diverse, notoriously difficult to pigeonhole and sometimes overlooked by marketers, who are generally more interested in catering to younger and more active consumers of goods, services and media,” says Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst. “But boomers wield enormous economic clout and are increasingly turning to online and mobile channels for a wide variety of needs, including e-commerce, financial services, travel, entertainment, health and wellness information, news and user-generated content.”

Boomers have more discretionary income-about $24,000 a year-than any other segment of the U.S. population, according to The Conference Board.

“To focus on younger demographics at the exclusion of boomers and over-60s, as some marketers have done, is to miss a potentially huge opportunity to tap into a large, vibrant, diverse and fast-growing segment of the U.S. Internet population,” Verna says.

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