8146.0 - Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 1999  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/06/2000   
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June 06, 2000
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)

Australians embrace the internet

Australian households continued to join the IT revolution during 1999 according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Just under half (48 per cent) of all households had access to a computer at home and 22 per cent had home Internet access. However, the increase in home Internet access during the year was much higher than the increase in home computers.

This publication contains results based on the four quarterly Household Use of Information Technology Surveys conducted in 1999. Analysis based upon the combined quarterly surveys produces more reliable results than any analysis of the individual surveys. In particular the increased sample allows the analysis to focus on smaller target groups or upon activities undertaken by fewer people. Comparison of estimates across the years is also possible.

The uptake of computers and the Internet has been greater in metropolitan areas than in the remainder of Australia. By 1999, 52 per cent of all households in metropolitan areas had access to a computer at home compared to 41 per cent of households in other areas. The relative difference was even greater for Internet access, with 26 per cent of households in metropolitan areas having access compared to 15 per cent of households in other areas. For both computer and Internet access, there was little difference in 1998 to 1999 growth between metropolitan and other areas.

Many more Australian adults are accessing the Internet at home, work or other locations. During 1999, 5.6 million Australian adults (41 per cent of the adult population) accessed the Internet, a significant increase on 4.2 million Australian adults (32 per cent) in 1998. Australia is among the leading countries in terms of the proportion of Internet users in the population.

Although the number of Australians who use the Internet to shop, bank or pay bills is low, the proportions are growing. Throughout 1999, 5 per cent of Australian adults used the Internet to purchase or order goods and services for their own private use, almost double the proportion reported for 1998. The most popular items were books, magazines and computer software and equipment. While only 3 per cent of adults used the Internet for banking and bill payment, this was more than double the proportion for 1998.

Editors Note: The estimates presented in this publication should be viewed as an average over all of 1999. They do not relate to any point in time during the year. When interpreting results which might have changed significantly over the year, estimates in this publication may be lower than estimates based solely on one of the later quarters in the year.

These and other details (including levels of access for different family types, age groups, income, education levels and location) are included in the publication Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 1999 (cat. no. 8146.0) which is available from ABS bookshops. A summary of the publication is available on this site. If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication, contact the ABS bookshop in your capital city.