18 October 2021
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Don't get left behind online

Peter Switzer
26 August 2009
Just how modern do you think you are? A recent report pretty well implies that if you are not online you are off the planet!

So if you want to benchmark yourself against the cutting edge generation and online fanatics, have a look at the big observations from the 2009 e-Business Report from Sensis.

If you only use the internet for email and contact details, you’re a new age dinosaur. According to the report, we Australians are connecting with the internet on a whole new level.

Get connected

Now these guys have been looking at us online for 14 years monitoring how we interact online and use social media and other applications. They also look at the rate of mobile internet connectivity and the level with which children are supervised whilst online. 

And the big conclusion is that we are getting connected.

“In particular, we have seen Australians increasingly join online communities, upload and download video, watch streaming content and join social networking sites,” said the report’s author, Christena Singh. “Australians are also now using their mobile phones to connect to the internet and to undertake a range of activities.”

Online operation

Here are some of the findings that people in business and investors looking for the companies of the future should be factoring into their company assessments:

  • Around one third (27 per cent) of Australians now belong to an online community, an increase of seven percentage points over the last 12 months.
  • Close to four in 10 Aussies (36 per cent) download video or watch streamed video content and that’s a four per cent rise over the year.
  • Uploading video content onto the internet also is on the rise, up four percentage points to 14 per cent.
  • 78 per cent of us look for information on products or services on the net.
  • 62 per cent pay for purchases or bills online.
  • 61 per cent order goods or services online.
  • 60 per cent make bookings and bank the new age way!

But Singh says the big change is how we get online.

“One of the biggest changes to have occurred during the year is the way in which we connect to the internet,” she pointed out. “Connecting online is no longer solely done from a computer, with more than one in four Australians now using a mobile phone to access the internet.”  

On the move

The use of mobile internet is highest amongst younger people, with approximately half of Australians in their 20s using a mobile phone to access the internet.

However, Australians in their 30s and 40s are getting into mobile internet, the report shows.

Some 33 per cent of those in their 30s and one quarter (24 per cent) of those in their 40s are using the internet on their mobile phones.

A big part of the mobile net surge is the arrival of iPhones and Blackberries.

Singh says looking for information about products and services is the most popular online activity undertaken on a mobile (41 per cent), followed by using social networking sites (40 per cent) and looking for suppliers of products and services (36 per cent).

Other activities currently undertaken using a mobile phone include:

  • Downloading video content (27 per cent).
  • Downloading games (25 per cent).
  • Purchasing ring tones (20 per cent).
  • Watching TV (17 per cent).
  • Ordering goods and services and scanning a mobile or QR code (12 per cent each).

Also, social networking continues to attract new participants. 

The rise of social networking

Four in 10 (41 per cent) Australians use social networking sites with 90 per cent of 14 to 19 year olds into it! However, usage has increased most in the 18 to 19 age group, up by 18 percentage points over the year to 90 per cent. 

And it’s becoming a daily activity with more than one in four (44 per cent) accessing a site at least daily.

Bosses will like to know that almost one in five people access social networking sites at their workplace.

For those in the kids business space, the report found children in 72 per cent of households access the internet and the average kid starts their online life between the ages of six and 10.

However, 24 per cent of children started using the internet when they were five years or younger. This reading rose six percentage points last year.

Children in 40 per cent of households visit social networking sites or belong to an online community and one in four use an online chat room.

Increased home connectivity

Some other findings from the report include: 

  • 90 per cent of Australian households have a computer of which 85 per cent are internet-enabled.
  • Standard broadband is the main way Australians connect to the internet (59 per cent), followed by wireless broadband (31 percent) and dial-up (13 per cent).
  • Wireless broadband experienced the biggest growth during the year, up three percentage points.

Another interesting point for business was the following observation of Singh's: “One of the most pleasing aspects of the findings is we are seeing greater internet connectivity amongst lower income households.”

In fact, internet penetration among households with an income of up to $35,000 grew 12 percentage points during the year to 73 percent.

This report shows that average Australians, business owners and investors can’t afford to be left at the bus stop on the information super highway.

For advice you can trust, contact Switzer Financial Services.

Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

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