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UK consumers boost internet usage stats

02 September 2010 - 13:58 by Sarah Collinson

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Far more households in the UK have access to the internet than ever before, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Seventy three per cent of homes now have internet access,which equates to 19.2 million households across the country and a total of over 30 million adult consumers.

The draw of various internet activities and services such as safe shopping online, social networking and information gathering, is pulling in more UK consumers than ever before and the steady climb in usage looks set to continue, as broadband is made cheaper and more widely available.

When the usage level was measured in 2009 it was found that over 18.3 million people had internet access, which shows that nearly a million new customers have signed up over the last 12 months.

Despite the widespread availability of the internet in UK households, there are still an estimated 9.2 million consumers who have never been online. Most of these consumers are aged 65 or over and it is seen as relatively difficult to reach this final percentage of the population with internet technology.

Almost every UK consumer who has attained some kind of qualification will be an internet user, while nearly half of those who lack certificates of further education have not been online in their life, which shows that there is something of a social and cultural divide that is defined by internet access.

The ONS' Mark Williams said that over the past four years the number of people accessing the internet in their own homes has seen a significant increase. He also pointed out that those with fewer qualifications and less disposable income were more likely to live without internet access.

The ONS also commented on the change in the types of net connection that people are using, with 31 per cent of consumers in 2010 choosing smartphones to carry out safe shopping online and social networking when on the move.