Australia in the digital economy: the shift to the online environment

14 Nov 2010

With big increases in the volume of data downloaded, time spent online and activities undertaken online, this report shows how Australians are embracing the digital economy.

Over the past five years, the frequency of internet use in Australia has steadily increased to the point where 28 per cent of people 14 years and over were estimated to be 'heavy' users (online more than 15 hours a week) in June 2010. A further 27 per cent were considered medium users (between 7 and 15 hours a week) and 23 per cent light users (up to 7 hours a week). Only 14 per cent were deemed to be heavy users during June 2005.

Facilitated by increased internet speeds, the volume of information and content accessed by Australians via the internet is growing significantly, with 155,503 terabytes of data downloaded in Australia during the June quarter of 2010, compared to 99,249 terabytes during the June quarter of 2009, a year on year increase of almost 57 per cent and again consistent with exponential trend witnessed over the last several years.

Online social networking continues to be a major driving force in the increasing intensity of online participation. During June 2010 alone, 8.7 million Australians accessed mainstream social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube from home, spending in total more than 41.5 million hours on these sites.

For many Australians the internet is also becoming an important source of news and information with over 6 million persons accessing the mainstream online news sites from home during June 2010.

This research was undertaken by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Image: s2art / flickr

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