Australia’s reliance on the internet and communication services grew significantly for the six months to June 2020, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) 2020 annual consumer survey has revealed.
It showed that 99% of Australians accessed the internet, an increase from 90% of Australians who accessed the internet during the same period last year.
The survey suggested the increase in online activities was likely driven by the COVID-19 restrictions that were introduced in March 2020, given that there were no significant changes from 2018 to 2019.
Emailing, web browsing, banking, and watching videos remained the most popular online activities during the six months.
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Also, for the first time, the ACMA survey showed the participation rates of users going online for accessing news, posting and engaging with content, video conferencing and calling, working from home, telehealth consultations, and studying from home.
When the survey examined how COVID-19 restrictions changed online activity participation, it showed four out of five Australian adults started or increased their participation for both telehealth consultations, and video conferencing and calling.
Specifically, 45% started telehealth consultation, while another 38% increased their telehealth activities. Meanwhile, video conferencing increased by 59%, followed by work from home at 50%, and study from home at 10%.
Gambling and the purchase of lottery tickets online saw the biggest decline at 34% and 22%, respectively, since COVID-19.
The ACMA added that Australians who started or increased their online activities due to the COVID-19 restrictions were more likely to be aged 18-54 than 55-plus.
ACMA’s survey also highlighted how the number of devices that Australian internet users used increased, with the average Australian user accessing 4.4 types of devices, versus just four last