Forget OAPs, we’re IAPs! (Internet Age Pensioners) reveals survey

28 February 2014

British retirees are a nation of IAPs (Internet Age Pensioners) thanks to their amazing grasp of technology, a new poll has found.

Researchers found that more than half of adults aged over sixty are comfortable with downloading new apps, are happy to back up their PC with security software and think nothing of synching their iPhones, or uploading pictures on Facebook.

The survey also found that half of pensioners now have tablet devices and 47 per cent have smart phones.  Three-quarters own a laptop and 61 per cent have a PC the poll found.

The in-depth study by McCarthy & Stone, Britain’s leading builder of retirement housing, found that 78 per cent of the 600 over 60s polled said they used the Internet to do their banking online and 72 per cent to read news online.

A whopping 88 per cent had used the Internet to research deals and utility quotes, 82 per cent to research days out and 81 per cent of this age group have booked a holiday online.

Other activities tackled online include buying clothes, find recipes, watching catch up TV and bidding on auction sites.

Ali Crossley, Executive Director of McCarthy & Stone said:  ‘’There is a perception that retirees are less in touch when it comes to technology, but that really isn’t the case anymore.

Many of the over 60s worked in careers which involved being savvy and up to date with the latest technology.

‘’You have to keep up with modern modes of communication if you want to keep in touch with the younger generation – many of the respondents used social networking sites to keep tabs on their children and grandchildren.

‘’The image of Granny struggling to send a text is really a thing of the past, with millions of pensioners logging on to Facebook and Twitter accounts daily.’’

The survey found a massive 96 per cent of the pensioners polled said they are far more savvy with technology than they were five years ago. And 88 per cent said they would describe themselves as fairly competent when it comes to online communication.

Nearly 40 per cent said they use social media to keep in touch with friends and 35 per cent with family.  Over half said they use Facebook, while YouTube is used by 41 per cent, along with 23 per cent Skyping or instant messaging, 19 per cent use iTunes and 18 per cent use Twitter. 

Nearly two thirds of the older generation said their adult children encouraged them to be knowledgeable when it comes to technology to stay ‘with it.’  While 56 per cent said they were self-taught when it comes to getting to grips with new gadgets, children were the first port of call if the silver surfers had a problem with any of the electronic equipment.

Over half said all their friends are interested in the latest gadgets and technology and older men were said to be the more tech savvy than women.

But the study revealed that one in ten of the adults polled who were in a couple said they often rowed with their other half about ownership of the laptop or tablet.

Adds Ali Crossley of McCarthy & Stone: “With so many services, information and social media online the Internet is a fantastic tool for retirees - and a real godsend for anyone who may sometimes struggle to get out and about.

“This survey confirms what we’ve been experiencing amongst our homeowners, with a sharp increase in the use of IT and social media and the receipt of more and more emails and Facebook visits everyday from across a wide age group, anywhere from those in their 60s right through to 90s plus. To meet this demand we’re introducing fast, free Wi-Fi access in our homeowners’ lounges and are adding more and more technology to our latest developments.”

The study also revealed that 23 per cent of pensioners were planning to buy a new gadget in 2014 with a tablet being the top choice.


  1. Read an email
  2. Send an email
  3. Read a text
  4. Send a text
  5. Use a search engine e.g Google
  6. Update your contacts on your phone
  7. Attach a document to an email
  8. Set up an email account
  9. Transfer photos from a digital camera to a computer
  10. Download anti-virus software
  11. Connect to a Wi-FI
  12. Save to a memory stick
  13. Download an App
  14. Send a message on Facebook
  15. Skype / instant message
  16. Transfer photos from a phone to a computer
  17. Use GPS
  18. Switch on airplane mode on a tablet, phone and laptop
  19. Send a picture message
  20. Send an email via a smartphone
  21. Uploading pictures to Facebook
  22. Zip a file
  23. Import numbers from SIM card to another
  24. Back up a Smartphone
  25. Send Tweet


  1. Research deals/utility quotes (88 per cent)
  2. Research days out (82 per cent)
  3. Booked a holiday (81 per cent)
  4. Online banking (78 per cent)
  5. Buy clothes (75 per cent)
  6. Read online newspapers (72 per cent)
  7. Get recipes (72 per cent)
  8. Watch catch-up TV (69 per cent)
  9. Bid on auction sites (61 per cent)
  10. Book flights (61 per cent)
  11. Research cars (61 per cent)
  12. Look for properties (60 per cent)
  13. Book train tickets (57 per cent)
  14. Instant messaging (54 per cent)
  15. Grocery Shopping (47 per cent)
  16. Order a repeat prescription (33 per cent)
  17. Booked a hire car (32 per cent)
  18. Booked an appointment (30 per cent)
  19. Book a hairdressers appointment (13 per cent)
  20. Online dating (8 per cent)

IAP Case Study - Mobile banking makes Derek a TV star

Derek Lowdon, 85, a resident at Bygate Court, near Whitley Bay, has proven that it’s never too late to get into new technology, or to become a TV star!

Since moving into the McCarthy & Stone Retirement Living development with his wife towards the end of 2012, he has not only taken up mobile banking using the free Wi-Fi in the homeowners’ lounge, but also uses its computer to do a bit of Googling, including looking for new places to try for a spot of lunch, or to look up holidays.

Derek’s TV adventure all began when he bought a new mobile so he could get started on mobile banking.  Once everything was set up by the staff at his local Barclays bank, he found it so simple he was soon managing his finances from the comfort of the homeowners’ lounge, without having to walk to his local branch.  Word quickly spread and Derek was asked to star in his bank’s latest TV ad to talk about his mobile banking. 

Says Derek “As I found out, it’s never too late to try new technology. By using my mobile, or the PC in our homeowners’ lounge, I can get all the information I want with no bother at all.  We’re so happy with everything here and are so pleased we moved into the development.  We’ve got everything we need right here, or just on the doorstep.” 

As well as being shown on national TV, Derek’s ad has now had over 11,000 YouTube hits and he gets recognised in Whitley Bay. His starring role can be seen here:

Read our Colour Report to discover more about the what reitrement looks like in the 21st century.

For more information:

Becky Charman, Tala,, 07957 474568