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Silver surfers fuel online shopping trend

09 August 2018 - 11:40 by Graham Miller

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The high street could be in more trouble than ever if more pensioners continue to flock to the web to buy products, rather than heading out to bricks and mortar stores.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 48 per cent of Brits aged 65 and over carry out safe shopping online on a regular basis. 10 years ago the equivalent figure was at just 16 per cent, indicating the extent to which e-commerce has grown in stature over the past decade, according to the Telegraph.

In the past, the older generations have helped physical outlets to remain viable, and even today this group are amongst the least common users of sites that offer safe shopping online. However, the proportion of the over-65s that completely shun e-commerce is shrinking rapidly and could well evaporate in the coming decade.

Tablets are the most common platform for pensioners who want to make online purchases, with 42 per cent saying that they own this type of gadget and use it on a regular basis.

Smartphones have also been embraced by silver surfers, with 36 per cent harnessing these devices to access shopping sites. This equals the number using laptops for the same purpose.

Meanwhile, desktop PCs continue to account for a quarter of the market, showing that there is still space for traditional computers, even if their impact has been reduced by their portable counterparts.

Older consumers are, of course, those in the best position to benefit from online shopping, since it means that they do not need to carry heavy items home from the high street or tire themselves out getting to and from the shops.

The opportunity to save money and squeeze the most out of a fixed income is also an important factor in the growing uptake of e-commerce amongst the over 65s.