8146.0 - Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 1998  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/05/1999   
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  • Strong growth in home use of information technology - ABS (Media Release)


May 27, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Strong growth in home use of information technology - ABS

In 1998, 16% of all households (1.1 million) had home Internet access, an increase of nearly 280% over the 1996 figure of 286,000 Internet households. The ACT had the highest proportion of online households (28%) followed by New South Wales (18%) and the Northern Territory (16%), Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia (around 15% each), South Australia (13%) and Tasmania (10%).

The figures are shown in an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report released today, which combines data from household surveys of the use of information technology conducted in February, May, August and November of 1998.

In 1998, 45% of Australian households (3.0 million) had a home computer and 38% of households (2.6 million) had a computer which was used frequently. In 1996, 31% of households (2.0 million) had a frequently used computer. In 1998, the ACT had the highest proportion of households frequently using a home computer (57%) followed by Victoria (40%), the Northern Territory (39%), New South Wales (38%), Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia (each with 37%) and Tasmania (29%).

Nearly 5.7 million Australians aged five years and over used a home computer frequently (34% of the total population). The comparable figure for 1996 was 24% or 4.0 million persons. The ACT had the highest proportion of frequent home computer users (51%), followed by Victoria and Western Australia, each with 35%, New South Wales and the Northern Territory, each with 34%, Queensland and South Australia, each with 33% and Tasmania (29%).

More than 8 million adults used a computer from any site in 1998. In addition, more than 4 million adults accessed the Internet in 1998. Work and home were the most frequently reported sites to use a computer or access the Internet.

Nearly 350,000 adults used the Internet to purchase or order goods. Of these, 81% paid for their orders or purchases online and 68% reported purchases or orders from overseas sources.

Internet commerce was relatively small compared to the use of telephone banking, EFTPOS and ATMs. An average 9.3 million adults used an ATM in any three month period of 1998, 8.1 million used EFTPOS and 4.7 million used the telephone to pay bills or withdraw funds.

Nearly 300,000 employed adults were able to access their employer's computers from home through a modem and had an agreement with their employer to work from home.

Details are in
Household Use of Information Technology (cat. no. 8146.0) available from ABS bookshops. A summary of the main findings from the publication can be found at this site.