Internet Use On The Up And Up--Is Anyone Surprised?

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Here's some news you just won't believe: on average, people spend moretime on the Internet now than they did in the past. Shocking, isn'tit?! A new Harris Poll has found that adult Internet users are nowonline an average of 13 hours per week, though the actual usage ofthose surveyed varies rather significantly. 20% of adult users areonline for only two hours or less per week, while 14% are spending 24hours or more per week.

The results are being calculated from a telephone poll of 2029 adultsbetween July 7th and 12th and October 13th and 18th, and the best partof this is looking at how the 13 hours compares to the past. Over theyears the average hours spent online have increased from 7 hours in1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002, to between 8 and 9 hours in 2003, 2004, 2005and 2006. In 2007, it increased to 11 hours. Last year (in Octoberafter the financial crisis broke and before the presidential election)Internet users were online for 14 hours a week, double what it was from1999 to 2002.

So, are you online more and more these days? What for? We're guessingthat the influx of news online and the rapid increase of socialnetworking popularity has led to the uptick, but feel free to tell usyou're just addicted to World of Warcraft.



Those who are online

Other interesting findings in this Harris Poll include:

  • The age groups that spend the most time online are those aged 30-39 (18 hours) and those aged 25-29 (17 hours) and 40-49 (17 hours).
  • Half (50%) of all those online bought something on the Internet in the last month. This includes 62% of those aged 30-39 and 56% of those aged 40-49.
  • The number of adults online, now 184 million (80%), has not changed significantly since 2008 and 2007. This includes those online at work, at home, at school or any other locations.
  • However, the number of adults who are online at home has increased to 76% this year, and 75% last year, compared to 70% in 2006, and 66% in 2005.

So what?

The increase in the number of hours spent online in the last two years compared to all previous years is striking. It probably reflects a growing ability to use the Internet, an increase in sites and applications, increased TV watching online and increased purchasing online. Also, hours online may have increased because of the recession. Going online is free; going out usually costs money.

 

TABLE 1

ONLINE FROM HOME, WORK OR OTHER LOCATION - TRENDS 1995–2009

“At home/at work/at another location, do you personally use a computer to Access the Internet/World Wide Web?”

"Excluding email, how many hours per week, on average, do you typically spend on the Internet or World Wide Web?"

Base: All adults

  Online Adults

Average
(Mean)
Hours Per
Week Spent
Online

Total

Online at
Home

Online
at Work

Online at
Other
Location

% % % %  
2009 – July/October 80 76 40 32 13
2008 - October/October 81 75 43 32 14
2007 - July/October 79 72 37 31 11
2006 - February/April 77 70 35 22 9
2005 - February/April 74 66 36 21 9
2004 - June/ August 73 65 34 17 8
2003 - October/December 69 61 31 16 9
2002 - November/December 67 57 28 18 7
2001 - September/October 64 52 28 19 7
2000 - October/November 63 49 29 17 7
1999 - December 56 46 N/A N/A 7
1998 - January/February 35 22 22 N/A N/A
1997 - May/June 30 16 18 N/A N/A
1996 - June/September 19 16 16 N/A N/A
1995 - September/November 9 N/A N/A N/A N/A

Note: N/A means “not asked”

 

TABLE 2

HOURS SPENT EACH WEEK ONLINE – BY AGE

“How many hours per week do you typically spend on the Internet or World Wide Web?”At home/at work/at another

Base: Online users

  Total Age
18-24 25-29 30-39 40-49 50-64 65+
  % % % % % % %
Less than 1 hour 1 - - 1 1 1 4
1 – 2 hours 19 19 19 9 22 22 29
3 – 5 hours 24 23 16 30 22 24 22
6 – 7 hours 6 5 6 4 7 7 11
8 – 15 hours 27 33 22 29 25 25 21
16 – 23 hours 7 5 11 8 9 7 5
24 – 168 hours 14 15 26 19 12 13 7
MEAN 13 14 17 18 17 15 8
 

TABLE 3

PURCHASED ONLINE IN LAST MONTH – BY AGE

“Last month did you purchase any products or services over the Internet?”

Base: Online users

  Total Age
18-24 25-29 30-39 40-49 50-64 65+
  % % % % % % %
Yes 50 35 41 62 56 54 37
No 50 64 58 38 44 46 63
Not sure * 1 1 - - - 1

Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% because of rounding.

 

TABLE 4

PC AND INTERNET USE - TRENDS 1995-2009

”Do you personally use a computer at home, work or another location?”

“At home/at work/at another location, do you personally use a computer to Access the Internet/World Wide Web?”

Base: All adults

 

Proportion of All Adults (from work,
home, school or other location)

Percent of
Computer Users
Who Are Online

Use PC Are Online
% % %
2009 - July/October 82 80 98
2008 - October/October 83 81 98
2007 - July/October 81 79 97
2006 - February/April 81 77 95
2005 - February/April 79 74 94
2004 - June/ August 78 73 93
2003 - October/December 75 69 92
2002 - November/December 74 67 92
2001 - September/October 73 64 88
2000 - October/November 74 63 85
1999 - December 69 56 81
1998 - January/February 63 35 56
1997 - May/June 61 30 49
1996 - June/September 54 19 35
1995 - September/November 50* 9 18

Notes:

1. All samples of 2,000 or more adults, conducted by telephone.

2. "Are Online" includes all adults who use Internet from home, office, school, library or other location.

* Estimated from other sources.

   
 

TABLE 5

ESTIMATED NUMBERS OF ADULTS WHO ARE ONLINE (IN MILLIONS)

“At home/at work/at another location, do you personally use a computer to Access the Internet/World Wide Web?”

Base: All adults



  In Millions



2009 - July/October* 184



2008 - October/October 184



2007 - July/October 178



2006 - February/April 172



2005 - February/April 163



2004 - June/August 156



2003 - October/December 146



2002 - November/December 140



2001 - September/October 127



2000 - October/November 121



1999 - December 113



1998 - January/February 70



1997 - May/June 59



1996 - June/September 33



1995 - September/November 17.5

*Based on July 2008 U.S. Census estimate released January 2009 (230,117,000 total adults aged 18 or over)

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted by telephone within the United States July 7 and 12 and October 13 and 18, 2009 among 2,029 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region, number of adults in the household, number of phone lines in the household were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.


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Super Dave replied on Thu, Dec 24 2009 10:14 PM

Time spent on the Internet is inversely proportional to time spent watching TV, IMO, and pretty-much everything on TV sucks!

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ClemSnide replied on Fri, Dec 25 2009 6:43 AM

What I find interesting is that people are spending infinitely more time on the Internet today as they did in the 19th century.

OK, maybe "interesting" is too strong a word.


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realneil replied on Fri, Dec 25 2009 11:07 AM

If Cave Man had had the internet, we wouldn't have legs today,...............

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mhenriday replied on Fri, Dec 25 2009 12:01 PM

Immediate gratification is the name of the game (there are others, but as this is a family site, I abstain). Myself, I'm only online about 14 hours a day, but then I've always been moderate - not to say abstemious - in my habits....

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mhenriday:
I'm only online about 14 hours a day

That's moderate!? Indifferent

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mhenriday replied on Sun, Dec 27 2009 8:14 AM

Well, recoveringknowitall, I've always prided myself on adhering to the golden mean....

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Ahh... I see. Moderation in moderation.

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rapid1 replied on Sun, Dec 27 2009 11:22 PM

Rofl; moderation in moderation. Well I also go to school on the internet, as well as find almost all news, and a large amount of my recreational media there also. If I had to make a choice about what I would give up TV would be long before internet. Heck my three year old spends at a minimum an hour on pbskids, disney, and a few other children's websites every day.

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ClemSnide replied on Tue, Dec 29 2009 9:55 AM

I DO have tentacles! Well, one, since the surgery. Or do I have the wrong word?


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