Thursday, March 1, 2012

What do you use the internet for? How old are you?

First we discovered that device preferences vary by age.  (See “What’s Your Favorite Gadget?” posted 8/4/11.)

Now we are discovering that internet behavior varies by age as well.  According to a recent study about women by Scarborough Research here’s how the different groups behave…

Gen Y (18-32) listens to music, watches movies, and plays games

Gen X (33-47) visits auction and coupon sites, gets financial information, pays bills and reads news

Baby Boomers (48-66) get medical information, make travel reservations, and play casino games
(Adweek, 2012)

That’s particularly interesting in view of the research that has been done lately about how much we are driven by habit and how difficult it is for marketers to change those habits. (Duhigg, 2012)
But what do you think?  Are your habits consistent with your demographic?  And what about the guys?  Are your patterns entirely different?

(2012, February 29) Data points: Women by the Ages.  Retrieved February 29, 2012, from

Duhigg, C. (2012, February 16)  How Companies Learn Your Secrets.  Retrieved February 29, 2012, from


  1. I don't think the research is well worked out, in my case it doesn't make any sense. I'm a Gen Y woman but the Gen X results fits better to my profil and interest in Internet surfing.
    I use the Internet for online banking, news, sport results, Facebook and researches defiantly not music, films and games..
    Maybe it is my habits which is old'ish :)
    -Mathilde Ring

  2. I think it definitely has to do with the age and the interests in general. My grandma is a baby boomer, my mom is a Gen X and I am a Gen Y and this behaviors definitely fit us. I also think that as you grow, your interests and behaviors change so I think that Gen Y is going to grow and adapt the behaviors of Gen X and Gen X the ones of the baby boomers.

  3. I think the use of Internet varies in many factors; age is an important one but not the only one.
    People use the Internet for different things; these things change depending what do you do if you are in college, high school, work, and etcetera. Also the activities we use the Internet for vary depending the country we live in, our social status, economic power and more.
    The Internet has many uses that is why age is not the only a factor. For instance, a lot of people shop online, the stuff they buy may vary because of the generation they are still doing the same activity.

  4. As a guy, I'm not sure exactly where i would fit into any of these categories because my internet habits seem to fall into each of the age groups. I also think that certain habits are now exclusively done online for all age groups like travel arrangements, listening to music, and social media like facebook. And aren't we all regular members on WebMD these days, regardless of age or gender?
    It would help a little if the groupings for age and gender were more specific on individual sites. where do baby boomers make travel arrangements online as opposed to the other groups? or get their news? and so on.

  5. I think this study is more of a correlation between the time the internet was widely available in relationship to the age of the individual in question, rather than a coorelation between age and what one does online.

    Around the time that the internet was becoming widely available, Baby Boomers saw it as a tool to check on the thing most pressing to them: their health, traveling for retirement, ect.

    Likewise, since the internet was developed along the time that the Gen Y was developing, they clearly use the internet for almost everything - including those things identified as Gen X and BB.

  6. I'm a female boomer (but barely--I'm 48) and I use the internet across the putative "age" categories above: it's my primary source of music and movies, TV, and news; it's how I do all my banking, make nearly all my purchases; conduct research; and stay in touch with others via social media. I'm guessing that age is less of a deciding factor than age AND formal education as co-factors. I'm guessing people of my age cohort who have semi-recent grad school degrees (as do I) use the internet like younger people.