By Claire West

The size of the UK Internet audience grew by five percent from 36.9 million people in May 2009 to 38.8 million people in May 2010.

Of these 1.9 million new Britons using the Internet, 1.0 million (53 percent) were at least 50 years old.

Men over 50 were responsible for most of this growth, accounting for 722,000 (38 percent) new British Internet users followed by women over 50 who accounted for 284,000 (15 percent) new users.

Following the 50+ age group, women aged 21-34 accounted for 272,000 (14 percent) new British Internet users and ‘tweenage’ girls aged 12-20 who accounted for 231,000 (12 percent).

Speaking on behalf of UKOM/Nielsen, Alex Burmaster says, “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. This growth is a reminder, if one was still needed, that it is very much a form of media utilised by all age groups. The fact that one in four Britons who use the Internet today are 50 to 64 years old proves it is no longer the sole preserve of the young and technical literati.”