An 80-year-old woman shows the Taobao app open on her phone in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, on Nov 21, 2018. (Photo: IC)
Phubber, shopaholic, livestreaming host ... internet buzzwords like these are no longer the exclusive realm of the young with the booming of the silver hair economy.
"My most used app is WeChat, and I have added more than 30 friends, mainly my relatives and friends of the same age; I also like watching videos, two to three hours a day, like TV dramas on Tencent video, and short videos on Xigua video; my most preferred mobile game is Doudizhu (a popular card game in China) and I will play for about two hours a day ..." said a retired 62-year-old woman in Beijing who shared her internet experiences in a report jointly released by Tencent and Penguin Intelligence.
Seniors have entered into the "new world" online with the help of their children, grandchildren and even shopping guides at supermarkets, the report said.
Compared with the young, who are tied up with study, and middle-aged people with heavy workloads, the elderly have more free time and a stronger demand fill up that time -- and this is a group that at one time didn't use the internet, but now has unlimited potential.
China had about 241 million people aged 60 and older as of 2017, accounting for 17.3 percent of the total population, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
According to the China Internet Network Information Center, there were 802 million internet users as of June. Of those, 10.5 percent are aged 50 and older, and 5.1 percent - about 40 million - are over 60.
Among the middle-aged and senior netizens, more than 65.7 percent aged over 40 spend more than a quarter of their free time on mobile phones, while heavy users - who spend over half of their free time there - account for about 30 percent, the report showed.
Social contact, news and video, which account for 70.5 percent, 39.7 percent and 32.5 percent, respectively, are the main purposes of elderly internet users spending time on their phones. The demand for light entertainment content, like short-videos and singing (26.9 percent and 14.5 percent) by elderly internet users also cannot be ignored, the report said.
E-commerce is nothing new for these people. About 89 percent of internet users aged 40 to 50 have experienced online shopping, while the figure stands at 68 percent for those aged 50 and above.
"I mainly use JD or Taobao for online shopping, and I need a large computer screen to carefully select goods," the woman in the report said.
Clothing and footwear (71 percent), as well as daily necessities (72 percent) are the main choices of online shoppers aged 50 and above.
Mobile payment also is popular with seniors. About 82.4 percent of internet users aged 50 and above often choose mobile payment for offline shopping.
The number of elderly netizens is growing faster than we think, and no matter for size or spending power, they are likely to be one of the main dividends in the future, the report said.