Using search engines is the second most common activity performed on the internet by users in all age ranges, a new survey has found.

The study by Pew, which was reported by Search Engine Land, revealed 79 per cent of adults in the US are online, with the most popular activity being emailing – a facility used by 94 per cent of people.

Search engine optimisation companies may be interested in the statistic that showed 87 per cent of respondents used search engines, with those aged between 18 and 33 the most likely to take advantage of them, as 92 per cent of this group engage with domains such as Google or Bing.

The research also found social networking is gaining in popularity with older individuals, as 16 per cent of those aged over 74 now use the channel, while 66 per cent of people had bought a product via the internet.

According to recent statistics from comScore, almost $22 billion (£14 billion) was spent online in the first 40 days of the 2010 November-December Christmas shopping season.

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