The writing’s on the net – Aussies embrace online
by Keris Lahiff
In case you needed cold, hard proof that more and more Aussies are moving online, the total number of internet subscriptions was up 17 per cent in 2010 and the average amount of data downloaded rose 29 per cent in the same period. It would seem that Australia has well and truly embraced the digital economy, according to research published by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
“These increases reflect again the ongoing digital boom in online social and economic activity,” says ACMA chairman Chris Chapman. “More and more Australians are going online to do their shopping, banking and social networking.”
In fact, 15 million people aged 14 and over used the internet in December 2010, up from 14.2 million in December 2009. According to ‘The internet service market and Australians in the online environment’ report, 71 per cent of internet users used the internet at least once a day, up four percentage points from a year earlier.
And, according to the most visited sites, e-commerce, online video and social networking are the three domains drawing a crowd. While eBay was the most popular site (attracting 4.24 million visitors), social networking sites remained the most popular, with 8.4 million accessing these, compared with 7.4 million people for retail and auction websites in general, and 5.5 million people accessing video streaming sites.
“The rise in online activity is particularly evident in the growing volume of data downloaded, as well as the increased take-up of higher speed internet services,” says Chapman. “This lift in speed continues to contribute to the increasing intensity of online activities as well as growth in the use of digital video services online.”
During this period, each internet subscriber downloaded an average 18.8 gigabytes of data, equivalent to approximately 120 hours of streamed video content. This was a 29 per cent increase from the December quarter of 2009.
Further indicating the move online, during December 2010, 3.1 million people accessed the internet using their mobile phone, up from 1.9 million in December 2009. However, this has not affected the popularity of internet access over fixed-line networks – 98 per cent of mobile phone internet users continue to use a computer to access the internet.
“This perhaps suggests that internet access via mobile phone handsets is developing as a complementary service, rather than a substitute,” says Chapman. “It is also notable that digital convergence is transforming how consumers can access the internet, moving beyond the mobile phone and computer to encompass a wider range of consumer electronic devices, such as the TV set.”
Published on: Monday, July 11, 2011