Shearings, cruise.co.uk, Hand Picked Hotels and Saga are among the top ten most popular websites for the over-50s, a new study shows.

Almost 39 million Britons use the internet regularly, up from 36.9 million at the same time last year.

The research by the UK Online Measurement Company found that the majority of online newcomers are aged over 50, with more men than women connecting. This age group now account for 31% of the UK internet audience. 

Of the 1.9 million new internet users:

  • Men over 50 account for 38%
  • Women over 50 account for 15%
  • Those aged 21-30 account for 14%
  • Women aged 12-20 account for 12%

Travel is one of the key sectors attracting older internet surfers, the research found. They are also interested in genealogy, fashion, video and community sites.

Health website RealAge has a market share with of 89% among the over-50s, followed by Saga at 78%. Shearings was the fourth most popular site, Hand Picked Hotels came in seventh place and cruise.co.uk in tenth.

UKOM spokesman Alex Burmaster said: “The internet is getting older in more ways than one. Not only is the medium itself maturing but the audience is shifting towards older age groups.

“There is still a perception that the net is youth-centric but this is clearly not the reality.”