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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2005  
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Contents >> Communications and information technology >> Use of information technology

Business use of information technology (IT)

Adoption of IT by businesses

For the year ended 30 June 2003 of those businesses which used IT, 83% used a computer, 71% used the Internet and 23% had a web presence.

A strong relationship exists between the employment size of a business and the likelihood that the business is using IT (table 23.12). As employment size increases, so does the proportion of businesses making use of IT. For example, for the year ended 30 June 2003 all large businesses (100 or more persons employed) used computers, 99% had access to the Internet and 80% had a web presence. Micro businesses (0-4 persons employed) had a lower level of IT adoption - 78% used computers, 65% had access to the Internet and only 15% had a web presence.

For the year ended 30 June 2003 the proportion of businesses using information technologies varied considerably across industries. The proportion of businesses using computers or with access to the Internet was lowest in the accommodation, cafes and restaurants industry (71% and 58% respectively) and in the personal and other services industry (72% and 58% respectively). Computer and Internet access was highest in the property and business services industry (93% and 89% respectively). The highest proportion of businesses with a web presence was in the cultural and recreation services industry (37%), while the lowest proportion was in the construction industry (11%).


23.12 BUSINESS USE OF SELECTED INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES - 2002-03

Businesses with(a)

Number of
businesses
Computers
Internet
access
Web site or
home page
'000
%
%
%

Total businesses
680
83
71
23
Employment size
0-4 persons
441
78
65
15
5-19 persons
190
92
81
33
20-99 persons
41
96
91
51
100 or more persons
8
100
99
80
Industry
Mining
3
87
78
31
Manufacturing
58
84
73
29
Electricity, gas and water supply
1
90
79
35
Construction
101
77
61
11
Wholesale trade
42
88
79
33
Retail trade
114
78
60
19
Accommodation, cafes and restaurants
35
71
58
29
Transport and storage
34
82
67
20
Communication services
6
81
63
22
Finance and insurance
28
83
77
26
Property and business services
155
93
89
28
Health and community services
52
86
72
16
Cultural and recreational services
18
88
81
37
Personal and other services
33
72
58
25

(a) Proportions are of all businesses in each category.

Source: Business Use of Information Technology, 2002-03 (8129.0).


Business use of the Internet

Data were collected on all types of Internet access used by businesses. The most common method of Internet access by businesses was dial-up via modem with 76% of businesses utilising this method. Less common was the use of Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) (18%), cable modem (8%) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) (5%).

Large businesses (100 or more persons employed) were most likely to use DSL (41%) to access the Internet at 30 June 2003, with other methods of Internet access including dial-up via modem (39%) and ISDN (33%). Smaller businesses were less likely to use more than one type of Internet access with the most common type of Internet access used by these businesses being via dial-up modem. For businesses with employment of 0-4 persons, 5-19 persons and 20-99 persons, the proportion accessing the Internet via dial-up modem was 80%, 73% and 62% respectively, which was significantly higher than for any other type of Internet access.

Business use of web sites

As at 30 June 2003, 23% of businesses which used IT reported having a web presence, either with their own web site or a presence on another entity's web site. While approximately 8% of all businesses with a web presence reported the capability for secure access or transactions, this proportion was 18% for large businesses (100 or more persons employed). Similarly, while integration with back-end systems was reported as a web feature by 10% of all businesses with a web presence, the proportion of large businesses who reported this feature was 20%.

The significance of Internet commerce in Australia

The ABS defines Internet commerce as placing or receiving orders for goods and services via the Internet or web, with or without associated on-line payments.

The proportion of businesses with Internet use that reported placing orders for goods and services over the Internet during 2002-03 was 39%. For this same period, 19% of businesses with Internet use indicated that they had received orders via the Internet or web.

The estimated value of Internet income for the year ended 30 June 2003 was $24.3b. This represented approximately 1% of total income of all businesses and approximately 5% of total income for those businesses which received orders via the Internet or web during the period.

Business IT security

Of businesses with a computer, 11% reported having no IT security measures in place at June 2003. The most common form of IT security reported was anti-virus software or a virus scanner (82%) followed by authentication software or hardware (45%), physical security (33%) and the use of a firewall (28%).

Farm use of IT

For the year ended 30 June 2003, nearly 72,000 farms (or 54% of all farms with an estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO) of $5,000 or more) used a computer as part of their business operations. This was an increase of one percentage point from the previous year (table 23.13).

For the same period an estimated 46% of farms used the Internet as part of their business operations, an increase of three percentage points from the previous year.

For the period 2002-03:

  • Western Australia showed the highest proportion of farms using a computer for business operations (67%) and the highest proportion of farms using the Internet for business operations (59%).
  • Victoria showed the lowest proportion of farms using a computer (49%) and the lowest proportion of farms using the Internet (40%).
  • The horticulture and fruit growing, dairy cattle farming and other crop industries reported the highest proportion of farms using a computer (59%).
  • The grain, sheep and beef cattle farming industry showed the lowest proportion of farms using a computer (52%).
  • The horticulture and fruit growing, poultry farming and other crop growing industries reported the highest proportion of farms using the Internet (51%).
  • The grain, sheep and beef cattle farming and dairy cattle farming industries showed the lowest proportion of farms using the Internet (44%).
  • There was a strong relationship between farm size (as measured by the EVAO) and the use of a computer and the Internet. As farm size increased so did the proportion of farms using a computer and the Internet. For example, 79% of farms with an EVAO of $1m or more used the Internet, compared with 30% of those with an EVAO less than $50,000.

23.13 FARMS USING A COMPUTER AND THE INTERNET(a)

2001-02
2002-03


Computer
Internet
Computer
Internet
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
52
43
52
44
Victoria
49
39
49
40
Queensland
51
41
54
45
South Australia
60
51
63
53
Western Australia
63
54
67
59
Tasmania
50
40
51
42
Northern Territory
53
45
57
52
Australian Capital Territory
53
48
59
51
Australia
53
43
54
46

(a) For business operations.

Source: Use of Information Technology on Farms, Australia (8150.0).


Household use of IT

The percentage of Australian households with access to a computer at home has increased steadily from 44% in 1998 to 66% in 2003 (graph 23.14). The percentage of Australian households with access to the Internet at home has increased strongly, rising from 16% in 1998 to 53% in 2003.

Graph 23.14: HOUSEHOLD COMPUTER AND INTERNET ACCESS




Characteristics of households with home Internet access

Households in metropolitan areas, with children under 15 years of age and in the Australian Capital Territory were more likely to have access to computers and the Internet at home (table 23.15).


23.15 HOUSEHOLD COMPUTER AND INTERNET ACCESS

Computer access(a)
Internet access(a)


1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

Households
Without children under 15
39
44
51
53
58
18
28
37
40
47
With children under 15
65
71
77
79
85
29
43
54
59
68
State or territory
New South Wales
45
52
59
61
65
22
32
45
48
54
Victoria
50
56
61
62
68
23
34
43
46
54
Queensland
44
50
55
57
65
20
31
40
42
52
South Australia
45
49
56
58
62
19
29
37
43
48
Western Australia
50
55
58
63
67
22
34
41
48
53
Tasmania
40
45
50
51
57
18
25
31
35
41
Northern Territory
55
54
52
62
(b)n.p.
30
35
38
48
(b)n.p.
Australian Capital Territory
66
70
77
78
80
34
46
60
60
66
Region
Capital city
51
55
62
65
69
25
36
47
50
56
Balance of state
40
48
52
54
61
15
26
34
39
47
All households
47
53
58
61
66
22
32
42
46
53

(a) Proportions are of all households in each category.
(b) The 2003 estimates for NT are included in the total and other classifications but cannot be shown separately.

Source: Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2002 and 2003 (8146.0).


Characteristics of adult Internet users

While 2003 data is available for household access to computers or the Internet, person level data on use of a computer or the Internet for 2003 is only available for selected population groups (persons aged 15 years and over with a disability, persons aged 60 years and over, and children aged 5-14 years). The latest data available for all Australian adults relates to 2002 and this is presented below.

The number of adults using the Internet continues to grow rapidly - rising from 31% of all persons 18 years and over in 1998 to 58% in 2002. Strong growth has occurred in all age groups across the years. The likelihood that a person uses the Internet decreases with age.

During 2002, home was the site where adults were most likely to use the Internet (table 23.16). This was particularly the case for those adults with incomes below $40,000 in 2000-01. Those adults with incomes of $40,000 and over were considerably more likely to use the Internet at work than those with lower incomes. Adults aged 18-24 years were most likely to use the Internet at sites other than home or work.


23.16 ADULTS ACCESSING THE INTERNET(a), Main characteristics - 2002

Site of Internet access(b)

Home
Work
Other sites
Any site
%
%
%
%

Age group (years)
18-24
57
28
69
84
25-34
52
42
49
78
35-44
55
39
29
69
45-54
45
36
19
58
55-64
32
21
12
42
65 and over
10
2
5
13
Personal income(c)
$0-$39,999
37
20
29
52
$40,000-79,999
61
59
36
80
$80,000 and over
76
78
40
89
All adults
43
30
31
58

(a) Proportions are of all persons in each category.
(b) Persons may have accessed the Internet at only one or any number of sites.
(c) In 2000-01.

Source: Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2001-02 (8146.0).


During the period 1998 to 2002 home Internet use by adults has increased as a percentage of total use (graph 23.17). In 1998, 59% of those who used the Internet did not use the Internet at home; in 2002 only 26% of those who used the Internet did not use the Internet at home.

Graph 23.17: PROPORTION OF HOME INTERNET USE(a)



Internet purchasing

During 2002, 2.2 million or 15% of all adults purchased or ordered goods or services via the Internet for private use (graph 23.18). This represents an increase of 34% in the number of people ordering good or services via the Internet from 2001. Of Internet users, just over one in four (26%) also ordered goods or services via the Internet. The largest increase in the percentage of people ordering goods or services via the Internet between 2000 and 2002 occurred in the age group 25-34 years.

Graph 23.18: ADULTS PURCHASING/ORDERING VIA INTERNET FOR PRIVATE USE



Accessing government services via the Internet

More than one in five (21%) adults accessed government services via the Internet for private purposes in 2002, compared with one in six (or 16%) in 2001 (graph 23.19). For those adults who accessed government services in 2002 for private purposes, 49% did so to pay bills (compared with 38% in 2001). The next three most popular services accessed were taxation information, employment/unemployment information and submitting tax returns, each being accessed by 20% of adults who accessed government services in 2002.

Graph 23.19: ADULTS ACCESSING GOVERNMENT SERVICES VIA INTERNET



International comparison

The proportion of Australian households with Internet access was 46% in 2002. Comparable data is available in graph 23.20 for 14 other countries. Australia's household Internet access is comparable with proportions in Canada and Japan (49%), the United Kingdom (50%) and the United States of America (51%).

Graph 23.20: HOUSEHOLDS WITH ACCESS TO THE INTERNET - 2002(a)




Use of IT by selected population groups in 2003

In 2003 data on computer and Internet use was collected in ABS household collections covering three selected population groups: persons aged 15 years and over with a disability; persons aged 60 years and over; and children aged 5-14 years. This data is not directly comparable with that for 2002 presented earlier in this chapter, due to the different surveys used to collect the 2003 data.

Persons aged 15 years and over with a disability

In 2003 just under half (48%) of persons aged 15 years and over with a disability reported having used a computer in the previous 12 months. For the same period, almost two in five (39%) had accessed the Internet (graph 23.21).

People with a disability were most likely to have used a computer or the Internet at home (41% and 30%, respectively). They were most likely to have used a computer or the Internet at home for private or personal purposes (92% of those using a computer at home and 94% of those using the Internet at home).

Graph 23.21: USE OF COMPUTERS OR THE INTERNET BY PERSONS(a) WITH A DISABILITY(b) - 2003




Persons aged 60 years and over

In 2003, 29% of Australians aged 60 years and over reported having used a computer in the last 12 months. For the same period, 21% reported having used the Internet (graph 23.22).

It was approximately three times more likely people aged 60 years and over would use a computer or the Internet at home than at work. Those using a computer or the Internet at home were most likely to have done so for personal or private reasons (95% of those using a computer at home and 96% of those using the Internet at home).

Graph 23.22: USE OF COMPUTERS OR THE INTERNET BY PERSONS AGED 60 YEARS AND OVER - 2003




Children aged 5-14 years

Most children aged 5-14 years (95%) used a computer in the 12 months to April 2003 during or outside of school hours (graph 23.23). The proportion of children using the Internet in the same period was 64%. Computer and Internet usage increased with age.

Children were most likely to have used a computer at school (89%), followed by home (82%), someone else's home (40%) and a public library (11%). The Internet was most likely to have been used at home (51%), followed by school (45%), someone else's home (16%) and a public library (4%).

Graph 23.23: USE OF COMPUTERS OR THE INTERNET BY CHILDREN(a) - 2003



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