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E-entrepreneurs looking to cash in on online shopping should be targeting silver-haired surfers, according to a study by US research company Greenfield Online.

It found that 92 per cent of "surfing seniors" window shop online. Seventy eight per cent of those questioned had actually bought something. According to the research, those aged between 55 and 64 were twice as likely to buy goods and services online compared to other Internet users.

Forty three per cent of senior surfers said they had bought software online (compared to 19 per cent for all Net users) while 19 per cent (compared to just eight per cent) said they had bought clothes online. Not only were senior Netizens more likely to shop online, they were also found to be particularly Net savvy.

According to Greenfield Online, this group was found to be made up of well-equipped computer owners who were well clued up about hi-tech add-ons such as scanners and digital cameras. They used email to stay in touch with family and far-flung friends and some even exchanged digital photos of children and grandchildren.

"Despite being in an age category known for pill-taking, they buy more books and software online than drugstore items," said the report, Surfing Seniors. All of which will be music to the ears of thirty two-year-old Richard Spinks, a former business development director at Lycos Bertelsmann, who launched a portal last month aimed specifically at more mature Net users. Vavo.com is part of a "radical venture to encourage millions of over 45s to join the digital revolution" and aims to corner the "affluent grey market" which Spinks reckons so far has been largely overlooked and untapped. ®

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