Instant Messaging: A Portal to Online Threats?
Online Activity Grows
An amazing 69 percent of U.S. adults are now online
Anew Harris Poll finds that the Internet continues to become more useful and more used. While the total Internet population is rising more slowly than it was in the late 90s, the proportion of those with broadband is rising much faster (Harris Poll of January 14, 2004) and more people are using the Internet for a wider variety of purposes.
Sending or receiving e-mail is still, by a wide margin, the most common online activity. It is followed by research for work or school, looking for news including the weather, gathering information about products or services and looking for information about hobbies or special interest. These were also the most common online activities three years ago.
The biggest change over the last three years is that among the (now much larger) online population, the frequency of e-mail use has declined somewhat while those using the Internet for many other purposes have increased.
These are the results of a nationwide telephone survey conducted by Harris Interactive between December 10 and 16, 2003 among a sample of 729 adults who are online from home, work, school, library, or other location. In total, 69 percent of U.S. adults are now online.
The proportions of those online who use the Internet “very often” or “often” for the most common activities are, in descending order of use:
- Sending or receiving email (67 percent)
- Doing research for work or school (45 percent)
- Getting information about products and services (41 percent)
- Getting information about hobbies or special interests (36 percent)
- Checking news, weather, etc. (40 percent)
- Surfing the web to explore new and different sites (32 percent)
- Shopping online (22 percent) Obtaining information on local amusements and activities (19 percent)
- Paying bills (18 percent) Downloading or playing games (18 percent)
- Financial management and investing (15 percent)
- Making travel plans or arrangements (15 percent)
- Obtaining information about health or disease (15 percent).
Biggest Changes in the Last Three Years
Given that the number of people who are online has increased over the last three years (from 63 percent in 2000 to 69 percent by December 2003), the numbers of people doing all of the activities on the list has increased also. And the percentages of those online who are doing most of these activities often have also increased. The biggest increases are in the percentages of online adults who are doing each of the following “very often” or “often”:
- Gathering information about products and services: up from 25 percent to 41 percent
- Doing research for work or school: up from 37 percent to 45 percent
- Surfing the web to explore new and different sites: up from 24 percent to 32 percent
- Obtaining information on local amusements and activities: up from11 percent to 19 percent
- Downloading or playing games: up from 13 percent to 18 percent
- Making travel plans and arrangements: up from 11 percent to 15 percent.
Several other activities which have probably increased since 2000 were not included in our survey three years ago, so we do not know how much they have grown. These include the 22 percent of all adults online who shop online “very often” or “often,” pay bills (18 percent), download music (10 percent), and search for jobs (10 percent)
To participate in future online surveys, visit: www.harrispollonline.com