8147.0 - Use of the Internet by Householders, Australia, Feb 1999  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/06/1999   
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Continued growth in home internet use - ABS

In February 1999, nearly 1.3 million households (18% of all households) had access to the Internet from home. This is an increase of 50% (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% (287,000) over the February 1998 estimate of 2.9 million households.

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

In the 12 months to February 1999, nearly 5 million adults (37% of Australia's total adult population) accessed the Internet compared to 3 million (23% 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% did so frequently, compared with 68% of adults accessing the Internet at work and only 26% at sites other than home or work.

Proportionally, in February 1999 18-24 year olds still had the highest level of Internet use (65% compared to 42% for February 1998), males still accessed the Internet more than females (39% and 35% respectively compared to 26% and 19% for February 1998), and more adults in capital cities accessed the Internet than in other areas (42% and 27% respectively compared to 28% and 14% 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% of Internet shoppers), computer software/equipment (40%), music (20%), clothing and shoes (11%), holidays (8%), tickets to entertainment events (6%) and sporting equipment (2%). 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% 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, 64% used EFTPOS and 71% used an ATM. In comparison, in the three months to February 1998, less 1% of adults used the Internet to pay bills or transfer funds, 29% used a telephone to pay bills or transfer funds, 58% used EFTPOS and 66% used an ATM.

In February 1999, 556,000 adults (7% of all employed adults) were able to access an employer's computer from home through a modem. An estimated 444,000 of these (80%) 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.