The internet: it’s popular

In case you hadn’t noticed, that digital internet thingee has become relatively popular of late. And the second bi-annual survey by AUT’s institute for culture, discourse and communication (ICDC), along with a few other esteemed research outfits, have offered up a range of percentages to prove it. 

Professor Allan Bell, director of ICDC, says the results of the survey of more than 1200 Kiwis shows the internet is now pretty much  all-pervasive and New Zealand has reached a point where there is now no ‘typical user’.

“In two years, broadband usage has jumped to over 80 percent of users, taking internet presence over a threshhold, which makes it an established part of most New Zealander’s lives.”

The World Internet Project first collected internet user data in 2007 and, after the second round last year, is now able to map some of the trends in New Zealand.

“The social, economic and cultural barriers than existed previously with internet use are gradually diminishing as more New Zealanders incorporate the technology into their lives in new and different ways,” Prof Bell says. “These changes are not happening overnight and are somewhat reliant on advances in technology, such as faster broadband speed or internet access via mobile phones.”

Some of the report’s findings:

  • The number of internet users rose from 79 percent in 2007 to 83 percent in 2009.
  • Broadband usage jumped to 82 percent compared with 67 percent in 2007.
  • 18 percent of people access the internet from mobile phones (up from seven percent in 2007).
  • Two thirds of users said the internet was so important to their every day lives that losing access to it would be a problem.
  • Nearly half of all users are members of social networking sites and Facebook is most common.
  • Asian New Zealanders had the highest level of internet use at 97 percent, while Maori, Pasifika and Pakeha hovered around the 80 percent mark.
  • Males and females used the internet equally.

Statistics New Zealand also released its information and communications technology report for 2009 recently, which revealed similar trends, with one of the most striking statistics being that 43 percent of the New Zealanders surveyed had made an online purchase in 2009, up from 29 percent in 2006. And Nielsen’s latest Online Retail Report also warmed the cockles of Kiwi onliners, showing that most of the online purchasing is being done through local sites.

Of course, this upswing in users is reflected in the upswing in online advertising, the only sector to record an increase in ad revenue last year. But while the industry is most definitely growing, there’s still plenty of contention within it about the best way to measure the effectiveness of advertising or the eyeballs, as can be seen from the slew of enlightening digi-comments that flowed after we published this story last week.

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