A study by NatWest International Personal Banking (IPB) has found that three out of four British expats aged 50 and over are regular ‘online junkies’ confident when paying bills, conducting Skype phone calls and generally surfing the web.
The Centre for Future Studies conducted the research on behalf of NatWest and found that among the ‘silver surfer’ generation, Brits who live abroad are far more comfortable in an online realm than their peers back home.
The study found that 28 per cent of Brits aged over 65 and living in the UK had never used the Internet, while 53 per cent lack the basic online skills necessary to surf online without supervision.
British expats, on the other hand, appear to have embraced technology as a way of keeping in touch with news, loved ones and general affairs back in the UK. The study found that 67 per cent of British expats aged over 50 use the internet regularly, with the vast majority (78 per cent) using social media such as Facebook and Twitter in order to stay in touch with family.
More than half of British expats aged 50 or over use the Internet for entertainment purposes such as film or music streaming, while 47 per cent use the web to manage their healthcare and personal admin, including banking, insurance and asset management.
“It is fair to say that the Internet has had an incredible impact on the life of your average British expat since our Quality of Life Index began seven years ago,” said Dave Isley, Head of NatWest International Personal Banking. “Being separated from home comforts and family and friends has clearly motivated older expats to adapt to a new way of communicating, as they are forced to embrace new forms of technology at a faster rate than their UK-based counterparts.”
The over 55s account for 26 per cent of all British expats who use the Internet – a growth of 11 per cent since last year, which suggests that more and more Brits are becoming comfortable with the Internet. Over-55s spend 14 per cent more time online than last year too, and while laptops and PCs are still the main point of entry to the online world, the use of smartphones among silver surfers has rocketed in the past year, with 72 per cent of Brit expats aged over 55 now owning a smartphone.
“It’s inevitable that we’ll continue to see an increase in the technological capabilities of the over 50s in the expat community,” added Isley. “Mobile technology has become a vital tool for British expats on the move, enabling them to access some of their home comforts when they need to.”
Courtesy: Ian Clover
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