Email, on-line banking, paying bills and news and weather updates are the most common uses of the internet by Australians this year, according to research released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
The report, Telecommunications Today Report 6: Internet Activity and Content, examines consumer adoption of the internet and the impact this is having on the growth of the digital economy in Australia. With 73 per cent of Australian households now having access to the internet, the report found that, overall, household internet users are accessing the internet more frequently, with an increasing number recording ‘heavy’ use (8 or more times per week).
The use of the internet for online purchases is extensive. Just over half (54 per cent) of those accessing the internet in the quarter ending March 2008 bought a product online, an increase of 8 per cent from 2006.
“One of the main changes to consumer behaviour as a result of the internet is the willingness of consumers to engage in commerce online,” said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman.
“Paying bills, airline ticket purchases and accommodation bookings have become some of the most popular activities on the internet. The internet has also become a significant social medium with the majority of internet users nominating email and socialising as activities they perform online. Changes to social interaction have been identified with a large number of internet users participating and using social networking sites, instant messaging, blogs and VoIP as communication tools.”
Internet users report a reduction in their use of traditional forms of media for entertainment and information activities – such as watching television, listening to the radio and reading magazines and newspapers. The internet has enabled users to engage in viewing and listening activities online by streaming or downloading videos, podcasts, music and television.
The report is the sixth and final in ACMA’s Telecommunication Today series on consumer use of communication services, and is available on ACMA’s website www.acma.gov.au