30.1 million adults use the Internet every day or nearly every day according to statistics released today by the Office for National Statistics ONS. Just over a half of these (17.4 million adults) used the Internet to watch television or listen to the radio, a huge increase over the figures from 2006 when the only 6.4 million did these activities. 73% of households had access to the Internet (as also recently reported by Ofcom)and 31 million people purchased goods or services online in the last 12 months. Of these, the most popular purchases were clothes and sporting goods (52%) whilst this figure increased for women (at 57%). Men however favoured purchasing films and music with these making up 48% of purchases. This shows that our population is increasingly aware of the Internet and the benefits that it brings, particularly in cost savings of purchasing goods and services online.
The report collates statistics based on various socio-economic and demographic indicators. Within age, 60% of those over 65 had never used the Internet, comparing with 22% of those aged between 55 and 64. Just 1% of those aged 16 to 24 had not used the Internet. London saw the highest density of Internet usage at 87% of adults. The North East had the lowest at 71%. Under marital status, 92% of single adults had used the Internet, compared with 81% of married and just 32% of widowed. What the figures don't show is the age of the widowed adults which is likely to include more people in the older age groups which could play a factor in this weighting.
Type of employment also swayed Internet usage with 91% of those in managerial of professional occupations having used the Internet whilst 67% in semi-routine and routine occupations. Equally, this was mirrored somewhat by education with 97% of those educated to degree level or higher having used the Internet whilst 45% of those without formal qualifications had. Income also played a roll with 98% of people earning more than £41,600 having used the Internet whilst 69% of those earning less than £10,399 had.
"Since 2006 we have seen a significant increase in the number of people using the Internet, with the number of adults accessing the Internet every day almost doubling to just over 30 million, though the UK is some way off from being completely online. Usage is closely linked with a number of socio-economic and demographic indicators with those less educated and on lower incomes less likely to access the web.
We have also seen changes in the way people connect and in the frequency of connection, with 31 per cent of Internet users connecting via a mobile phone in 2010 compared to 23 per cent in 2009. The use of wi-fi hotspots continued to rise with 2.7 million people (7 per cent of Internet users) used wireless hotspots at locations such as cafes, restaurants, and hotels."Mark Williams, Office for National Statistics