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Business use of information technology (IT)
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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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%).
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).
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).
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%).