BERLIN: Increasing numbers of older consumers are using both the web and social networks in Germany, an indication that these channels are penetrating one of the largest untapped audiences in the country.

BITKOM, the trade body, surveyed 1,005 people worldwide, and broke out the results for participants over the age of 65 years old. In all, 33% of this group now accessed the internet, up from 24% last year.

Of the current online audience within this demographic, 41% belonged to social media services such as Facebook and Twitter, the analysis added.

"Older people can also benefit from the contact and communication capabilities provided by social networks," Bernhard Rohleder, of BITKOM, said.

"They can, for example, find out news about their children or grandchildren and contact them at any time, even if they do not live in the same city."

The report also predicted that tablet computers may ultimately facilitate these processes, as they are simple to use, alongside being lightweight.

"Once seniors discover the benefits of the internet, the step into the social networking is easy," Rohleder said.

Data sourced from BITKOM; additional content by Warc staff