Changing internet use over time
The Office for National Statistics has been collecting statistics on the use of the internet since 1998 and has produced an annual report since 2006 based on a survey of people in the UK.
The 2019 report for England, Scotland and Wales showed a huge increase in the use of the internet and social media since their first annual report. These were the key findings:
- 87% of all adults used the internet daily or almost every day in 2019.
- 93% of households had access to the internet in 2019. This was an increase of 23 percentage points in the last decade.
- Of those households who did not have access to the internet, 61% of households did not feel that they needed the internet.
- In 2019, for the first time, more than half of adults aged 65 years and over shopped online, at 54%.
- The percentage of adults who make video or voice calls over the internet has more than trebled over the past decade, to 50% in 2019.
- In 2019, 7% of adults suffered fraudulent debit or credit card use from using the internet in the last 12 months.
Personally, I was surprised that only 93% of the population have internet access (the second bullet point) because this suggests that 7% of households still do not have access (although 61% of these households felt that they did not need the internet). Also, the growth in the use of internet shopping amongst the over-65s was very interesting. You may recall from Figure 4 that internet use for instant messaging was much lower for that age group in 2014.
As this section has shown, so much of our world is digital and this raises questions about inequalities in terms of access to goods and services including public services.