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Internet usage reaches saturation in some population segments


October 9, 2003

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Friday October 10, 2003

The age of ubiquitous internet usage would appear to be almost upon us, just a decade after the internet was introduced to the Australian population at large. The recently-released Red Sheriff 2003 Australian Internet Report shows that the incidence of Internet trial (that is, use of the Internet at least once) has risen significantly from 65% to 73% over the two years from 2001 to 2003 and based on intended use, the level of Internet trial will rise to 79% next year.

The report underlines the progressive change in the role of the Internet from a recreational activity to more of a functional role. Given that the vast majority of people online were experienced Internet users, the Internet is now more a tool of everyday life.

The report's most significant findings showed that the key early adopter markets of 16-29 year olds and those earning over $95,000 has almost reached full saturation at 95% and 93% respectively.

Just six years ago, the incidence of internet trial for these demographic sub-groups was 30%. Indeed, the even younger sub-group of 16-20 year-olds was completely saturated - every respondent had tried the internet and access, experience and skills were greater issues within this segment than opportunity to trial. This group represent the first generation for whom the Internet has become an integral part of their lives across study, work and leisure activities.

Similarly, for those on higher incomes, a home Internet connection has become a household 'necessity', on par with mobile phones and pay TV.

Future growth in Internet trial will be largely driven by those age 50+ and earning less than $50,000.

The 2003 Australian Internet Report draws upon six years of historical data on the Internet and technology markets in Australia. The report provides an ongoing monitor of the profile of Internet users as well as their needs, behaviours and attitudes. This year, the report was
expanded to provide analysis of consumer trends in online brands, mobile telephony, new technologies such as 3G, search engines and online financial services.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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