Nearly all adult Australians now go online, and we’re getting digital in a range of ways—from social and work interactions to business transactions and shopping, according to new ACMA research.
Australians’ digital lives, the first of two complementary reports in the ACMA Communications report 2013–14 series, takes a look at how we’re engaging with digital technologies and our changing communications practices.
Young and old are both on board
Younger people (those aged 18–44) are the most active digital citizens, with 100 per cent of this age group going online in the six months to May 2014. But older Aussies (those aged 65 and over) aren’t too far behind, with 68 per cent also going online during this period. They’re also increasingly using mobile phones to access the internet (up seven percentage points).
This older age group is also using the internet to stay in touch, with 74 per cent of this group who use communications apps preferring Skype to either make phone or video calls, or send messages.
More ways to go online
The majority of online Australians (68 per cent) are now using three or more devices to access the internet, and almost a quarter (23 per cent) use five or more. To manage these multiple devices, there is a trend towards more complex home networks connected to the internet by fixed-line and Wi-Fi.
Our strong digital engagement is also influencing the way we work, with digital communications making it easier for people to work in multiple locations. Almost half (49 per cent) of employed Australians are ‘digital workers’—meaning they use the internet to work away from the office outside of standard hours or they are teleworkers who work away from the office for a part or full day.
Of digital workers, 48 per cent have a formal agreement in place. This equates to nearly a quarter (24 per cent) of those who are employed.
While the internet is now a part of most Australians’ daily lives, there’s still an estimated 1.1 million of us who have never accessed the internet (at June 2014).
However, this figure has nearly halved in four years—down from two million adult Australians at June 2010. Age and income are the main factors associated with being offline—70 per cent are people aged 65 and over, and 83 per cent earn an annual income of less than $30,000.