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8147.0 - Use of the Internet by Householders, Australia, May 1999  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/09/1999   
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  • About this Release
  • 3 million internet purchases and 1.5 million households online (Media Release)


September 06, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

3 million internet purchases and 1.5 million households online

Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that shopping over the Internet has increased by nearly 60% in the 12 months to May 1999, according to a report released today.

An estimated 3 million purchases were made by 650,000 Australian adult Internet shoppers for their private use in the 12 months to May 1999. Books/magazines and computer software/equipment were the most common types of goods or services purchased (38% and 34% respectively) followed by music (14%), clothing, shoes, etc (11%), holidays (9%), tickets to entertainment events (8%) and sporting equipment (4%).

Almost half (47%) of all Australian households (just over 3.2 million households) had a home computer in May 1999, an increase of 13% over the May 1998 estimate of 2.9 million households. However, just over 22% of all households (or 1.5 million households) had home Internet access compared with 14% in May 1998.

In the 12 months to May 1999, nearly 5.5 million adults (40% of Australia's adult population) accessed the Internet compared to 3.6 million in the 12 months to May 1998. At May 1999 the most frequently reported sites for adult Internet access were work (2.7 million people) and home (2.3 million). Around 84% of adults who accessed the Internet at home did so at least once a week compared with 76% of adults accessing the Internet at work and only 24% of adults accessing the Internet from sites other than home or work.

At May 1999, 18-24 year olds had the highest level of Internet use (74%). There were more adult males who accessed the Internet than adult females (44% and 37% respectively) and more adults in capital cities accessed the Internet than in other areas (44% and 33% respectively).

The survey also showed that in the three months to May 1999, 2% of adults used the Internet to pay bills or transfer funds, 2% used an electronic information kiosk to pay bills, 39% used the telephone to pay bills or transfer funds, 62% used EFTPOS and 72% used an ATM.

At May 1999, there were 587,000 adults (7% of all employed adults) who were able to access an employer's computer from home through a modem. An estimated 412,000 of these (70%) had an agreement with their employer to work from home.

Details are in
Use of Internet by Householders, Australia, May 1999 (cat. no. 8147.0) which is available from ABS Bookshops. The main features of the publication are available on this site. The ABS encourages media organisations with online news services to link to the main features. Please phone us if you need assistance to do this.

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