49 percent of online seniors use Facebook

A study by Forrester Research is telling brands to be sure to go after seniors. Why? They're almost all online, and many are on Facebook.

Facebook is reportedly working on ways to let kids under age 13 join its service , and it would doubtless be good for Facebook to hook as many young people as possible . But now comes a study that shows just how important Facebook is for senior citizens.

Forrester released a marketing report, called Digital Seniors," that finds that 60 percent of all U.S. seniors (those 65 and older) are online. And of those, about half -- 49 percent -- are using Facebook.

Forrester doesn't offer up details about what these folks are doing on Facebook, but common sense would suggest they're using the social network the way many others do: To keep up with friends, kids, and grandchildren scattered around the country.

Among the other things seniors do online: 91 percent now use e-mail; 46 percent send and receive photos by e-mail; 59 percent bought products in the past three months; 24 percent sign up for coupons; 44 percent play solo games online.

Not surprisingly, seniors are less likely than younger people to own a smartphone or tablet. But Forrester points out that from a marketer's standpoint, there are advantages to paying attention to seniors: They have more money to spend than 18- to 24-year-olds, and they're also far more loyal to brands than younger adults are.

About the author

Paul Sloan is editor in chief of CNET News. Before joining CNET, he had been a San Francisco-based correspondent for Fortune magazine, an editor at large for Business 2.0 magazine, and a senior producer for CNN. When his fingers aren't on a keyboard, they're usually on a guitar. Email him here.

 

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