NOIE Internet Trends – The Current State of Play
Monday, 15th March 2004 at 12:03 pm
A growing majority of Australians use the Internet. The number of Internet subscribers rose to just over five million in the first quarter of 2003, an increase of 28% on the same period for 2001.
The National Office for the Information Economy (NOIE) has just released a new report on online participation and activities called the Current State of Play 2003.
It describes what communities are doing with connectivity. Here’s a snapshot:
Internet subscribers were made up of about 4.4 million private households and 659,000 businesses and government organisations.
In the second quarter of 2003, 55% of households had Internet access, up from 50% in the same period of 2001.
Fifty eight percent of the Australian population had immediate access to the Internet during June 2003.
Fifty nine percent of Australians aged 14 years and over used the Internet from any location (home, work or other location) at June 2003.
At June 2002, in excess of 70% of businesses with employees were online, while Internet connectivity jumped to above 80% for businesses with five or more employees and above 90% for businesses with 20 or more employees.
While Internet participation has increased across all socio-economic groups and business categories, certain groups within Australian society are still more likely to have significantly higher levels of Internet use than other socio-economic groupings.
Australians in general
Amongst Australians aged 14 years and over, during June 2003:
Internet use generally declined with age. Eight two per cent of persons aged 14-17 years reported using the Internet compared to 79% for 18-24 year olds, 71% of 25-39 year olds, 65% of 40-54 year olds and 29% of persons aged 55 years or over. However, the highest proportional increase in online participation was recorded by persons aged 55 years and over (an increase of 61% since June 2001)
Internet participation increased with levels of educational attainment. About 85% of those with a university degree accessed the Internet compared to 64% of persons with a certificate, 61% of those with upper secondary, and 40% of those with mainly primary school education.
Internet participation increased with personal incomes. About 36% of those earning between $10,000 and $14,999 used the Internet compared to 72% of those earning between $40,000 and $49,999 and 90% of those on incomes of $119,999 or above.
Persons in older families had the highest participation rate (75%) followed by young families (66%), couples (48%) and singles (34%).
E-service capability and online activities
Australians and Australian businesses in general increasingly used the Internet for a broad range of activities. However, for both groups, communication and information gathering were core to activities undertaken online.
During June 2003, amongst Australian Internet users aged 14 years and over:
The top online activities were closely related to communication and information needs. The one exception is the increasing popularity of Internet banking and financial activities which ranked third with a patronage of 37% of the Internet population 14 years and over at June 2003.
Communication (covering activities such as electronic mail, Internet telephony, use of chat rooms, etc), was the most prolific Internet activity. Seventy-five per cent of monthly Internet users 14 years and over reported the use of e-mail or other interactive and non-interactive communications in the past seven days. The lead ranking of communication activities has been evident since December 2000.
About 28% of Internet users engaged in online buying or selling related activities.
Entertainment and education related activities trailed the other main activities identified, with a following of 24% and 18% respectively.
The popularity and appeal of online government services is evident given that 36% of Internet users 18 years and over accessed such services in 2002.
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