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Study: Online Seniors Captivated by Sweepstakes

Seniors 55 and over have embraced the Internet, and a whopping 90 percent of online seniors have tried their luck in cyber sweepstakes and contests, says a new study.

Seniors also tend to use the Web for shopping and communication, according to the latest Surfing Seniors Digital Consumer study by market research firm Greenfield Online.

But the survey of nearly 3,000 respondents shows that for seniors, cash is king. Although many enter contests for prizes like a new car, almost a third (30 percent) of those that enter contests or sweepstakes will enter for prizes as little as $5 to $10.

Interestingly, 93 percent of those surveyed have shopped online and 89 percent say they have purchased online -- both higher percentages than the general Internet population, based on other Greenfield Online research.

The items seniors most often shopped for are computer software (56 percent), books (54 percent) and CDs/tapes (42 percent).

One third (33 percent) of seniors that have visited an online drugstore/pharmacy have made a purchase, a slight increase since a previous fielding of this study in July 1999 when only 27 percent had purchased. Only 21 percent of the seniors that purchased from an online drugstore/pharmacy said they were likely to repeat buy, due to complications with the online drugstores/pharmacies accepting medical insurance.

E-mail, of course, is the killer app: 95 percent send and receive e-mail. Seventy percent check weather reports; 57 percent find coupons and special offers and 56 percent read the news/newspapers.

"The majority of the seniors surveyed are not just dabbling on the Internet," said Rudy Nadilo, chief executive officer of Greenfield Online. "Nearly a third (29 percent) spend two to three hours each day online, the majority (57 percent) have owned their computers for four years or longer, 90 percent own a color printer and 61 percent own a scanner."

The study is part of Greenfield's ongoing Digital Consumer series that examines attitudes and usage of the online public. The Surfing Seniors II study was conducted online between March 28, 2000, and April 3, 2000, with a sample of 2,808 respondents.