Australians Online - New Report
16 March 2009 at 3:21 pm
The average Australian now spends an hour and a half of their leisure time online each day, most (79%) login from home daily and many have met an online acquaintance in person, according to a recent global digital study conducted by market information group TNS.
The Digital World, Digital Life study, which investigated online behaviour in 16 countries, found that people spend one-third of our leisure time online. Globally, the amount of leisure time spent online overall was similar, but several Asian nations, such as China (44%), Korea (40%) and Japan (38%), are leading the way in terms of spare time spent online.
In the UK, people are spending 28% of their leisure time on the internet, and in the US, people are spending 30% of their spare time in online pursuits.
Director of Technology research, TNS Sydney, Marcus Pritchard says the figures show how far the internet has progressed in becoming part of our daily lives.
He says Australians are becoming more and more engaged in social networking, online communities and virtual worlds.
One in two Australians use social networking sites, such as Facebook or MySpace, and on average are members of 2.7 different sites. The global average is membership to 2.5 different sites, with the leading nation Korea at 4.6.
He says apart from social networking sites, however, Australians are not active contributors to the internet. Rather they are more feeders from it. He says Australians are information downloaders – taking what’s there but not always provide content.
Generally, awareness of web 2.0 platforms in Australia is high, but contribution to these mediums is low, particularly when compared to other countries. While 93% are aware of blogs, only 40% have accessed them and even fewer have contributed (13%). Likewise, many (83%) are aware of virtual worlds, but only 26% have viewed or contributed to these sites, such as SecondLife.
Awareness of wikis is lower at 71% with only 6% having contributed to these knowledge sharing platforms.
One in three (36%) Australians have friends or contacts that they met online with whom they regularly communicate, similar to the global average of 37%. The most gregarious online users reside in China, with 75% having met a friend or contact online that they are still in contact with.
Australians who chat to people online have 23 contacts on their list that were sourced from online. Globally, the figure is 18.
Around 6 in 10 Australians with online acquaintances have met them in person and over half have spoken to them on the phone. Once again, this is in line with the global figure but behind nations like Germany (76%), Sweden (75%), France (75%), Denmark (74%), and Norway (73%) who meet up in person more readily.
Despite active online lives, face-to-face remains the preferred way of communicating with family members, partners, and friends. Other modes of communication elected in preference to online communication include voice calls from mobile and land-line phones and text messages.
Australians are also engaging in other leisure pursuits the internet has become infamous for. Twenty-two per cent admit to having visited an adult website and having used a chatroom, and one in ten to having used an online dating website. Forty-four per cent have downloaded music and one in five have downloaded a film.
TNS is a global market information and insight group. Its 16-country study into online behaviour and perspectives around the world took place at the end of 2008. A total of 27,522 people aged 18 to 55 years were interviewed online in the following countries: Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.