8147.0 - Use of the Internet by Householders, Australia, May 1998  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/08/1998   
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August 25, 1998
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Home internet use grows strongly - ABS figures

Internet access by Australian households grew 14 per cent between February and May this year, according to ABS survey figures released today.

At May 1998 more than 970,000 households had home Internet access. This represented 14 per cent of all households and 34 per cent of households with a computer. The bulk of the increase occurred in households which already had home computing facilities.

The ABS does not have a precise measure of the number of frequent Internet users although it is known that more than 94 per cent of adults accessing the Internet from home were frequent home computer users (ie weekly or more often). The survey showed that the number of adults who used a home computer once a week or more, and who accessed the Internet in the previous 12 months increased by 37 per cent (to 1.4 million) over February 1998.

409,000 adults used the Internet for purchasing/ordering goods and services in the 12 months to May 1998. This is double that recorded in the February 1998 survey for the year prior to that survey. These adults undertook 1.1 million transactions (orders or purchases) for private use.

Of those who made purchases, the average number of purchases made was three during that period; 37 per cent of adult Internet shoppers made one purchase and 20 per cent made four or more purchases.

Most adult Internet shoppers made purchases from home (82 per cent) and the majority of shoppers sourced their purchases from overseas (70 per cent). Nearly 78 per cent of Internet shoppers paid for their purchases online via the Internet.

As a mechanism to pay bills or transfer funds, the survey showed that the Internet was not significant compared to the use of EFTPOS, the telephone or an ATM for similar purposes. Less than one per cent of adult Australians had used the Internet in the three months to May 1998 to pay bills or transfer funds. During this same period nearly 30 per cent of adults (four million persons) had used a telephone to pay bills or transfer funds, 59 per cent (7.9 million persons) had used EFTPOS and 68 per cent (9.1 million) had used an ATM.

Details are in Use of Internet by Householders, Australia, May 1998 (cat. no. 8147.0) which is available from ABS Bookshops.