More than two-thirds of online Australians – 68 per cent to be exact – are now using three or more devices to access the internet and they are looking for even more ways to get online. According to the just released Australians’ digital lives report, 23 per cent are now using five or more devices, and like most numbers in the digital world, is going up.
The research by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), complements their 2013-14 communication report and brings a forensic focus on local digital communication during 2014.
It is little wonder there is such a keenness to use whatever new device is close to hand given 92 per cent of Australians use the internet, or that there are 10.7 million users online every day.
Perhaps what the ACMA report reveals most tellingly is what is still considered by many a conduit to social activities, has now become increasingly essential for work: close to half of employed Australians – 49 per cent – qualify as ‘digital workers’.
Of course the advantages of ‘digital’ work include increased mobility – you can put in the requisite hours from multiple locations, including home. It must also mean the end of a lot of paper work – time sheets can be filled in, invoices issued and even paid via phone, without ever having to come into the office. Another body blow to the cash economy.
But not to business: 10.9 million Australians were involved in online commercial transactions during 2014. The main online consumers fell within the 25 – 52 year olds bracket. What is more curious is what people buy on line: 44 per cent of all online purchases were to do with entertainment – as opposed to 26% which involved ‘reading’. I am not sure what type of reading that refers to – if casino pa natet not ‘entertainment’ then perhaps self-help books as opposed to Harry Potter novels? Curiously we spend the same percentage online on ‘fashion’ as we do on ‘reading’. Our phones are revealing us to be a nation of fashionable literates who like to be entertained.
Apps are proving to be the gateway to everything on a mobile, with a 75 per cent increase in downloads over the past year. And it is not just the young and nimble fingered embracing the digital: 68 per cent of the over 65s were online during the last half of 2014. Once bound to their desktop, there has been a seven per cent increase in accessing the internet. Mostly it seems for personal communication with 74 per cent of these oldies using Skype.
The rush by the Australia’s old and young to pick up every new digital devise is reinforcing the nation’s hard-earned reputation as dedicated, early adopters of new technology.