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Continued Growth In Home Internet Use

Release From Australian Bureau of Statistics

30 Jun 1999

ABS In February 1999, nearly 1.3 million households (18 percent of all households) had access to the Internet from home. This is an increase of 50 percent (423,000) over February 1998. Figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that there were nearly 3.2 million households with a home computer at February 1999, an increase of 10 percent (287,000) over the February 1998 estimate of 2.9 million households.

Almost 90 percent of Internet households accessed the Internet frequently from home (once a week or more); 40 percent accessed the Internet daily, 38 percent two to six times a week and 10 percent once a week.

In the 12 months to February 1999, nearly 5 million adults (37 percent of Australia's total adult population) accessed the Internet compared to 3 million (23 percent of all adults) in the 12 months to February 1998. In February 1999 the most frequently reported sites for Internet access were work (2.5 million people), home (1.7 million), a neighbour's or friend's house (1.5 million) and TAFE or tertiary institutions (1 million). Of adults who accessed the Internet at home 86 percent did so frequently, compared with 68 percent of adults accessing the Internet at work and only 26 percent at sites other than home or work.

Proportionally, in February 1999 18-24 year olds still had the highest level of Internet use (65 percent compared to 42 percent for February 1998), males still accessed the Internet more than females (39 percent and 35 percent respectively compared to 26 percent and 19 percent for February 1998), and more adults in capital cities accessed the Internet than in other areas (42 percent and 27 percent respectively compared to 28 percent and 14 percent for February 1998).

480,000 adults used the Internet in the 12 months to February 1999 to make an estimated 1.9 million purchases. The types of goods purchased via the Internet included books/magazines (41 percent of Internet shoppers), computer software/equipment (40 percent), music (20 percent), clothing and shoes (11 percent), holidays (8 percent), tickets to entertainment events (6 percent) and sporting equipment (2 percent). By comparison, in the 12 months to February 1998, 207,000 adults used the Internet for shopping.

The survey showed that in the three months to February 1999, 2 percent of adults used the Internet to pay bills or transfer funds, 2 percent used an electronic information kiosk to pay bills, 39 percent used the telephone to pay bills or transfer funds, 64 percent used EFTPOS and 71 percent used an ATM. In comparison, in the three months to February 1998, less 1 percent of adults used the Internet to pay bills or transfer funds, 29 percent used a telephone to pay bills or transfer funds, 58 percent used EFTPOS and 66 percent used an ATM.

In February 1999, 556,000 adults (7 percent of all employed adults) were able to access an employer's computer from home through a modem. An estimated 444,000 of these (80 percent) had a agreement with their employer to work from home compared with 137,000 in February 1998.

Details are in Use of Internet by Householders, Australia, February 1999 Cat. No. 8147.0) which is available from ABS Bookshops. This release and the main features of the publication are available on the Internet at http://www.abs.gov.au.

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