A report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics a few months back provides some insight into how and how many Australian households are making use of the internet.
According to the ABS, in 2014-15, the number of Australian households with access to the Internet reached 7.7 million. That was 86% of all households across the country and up from 83% in 2012–13.
The difference of uptake between major cities and remote or very remote parts of Australia was significant; 88% in the case of the former and 79% for the latter. The digital divide in the bush is still a major challenge; particularly when it comes to fast broadband.
An update from the ABS in April shows there were approximately 12.9 million internet subscribers in Australia at the end of December 2015 and almost all (99.3%) internet connections were broadband. The reason for large difference in figures is a single household may have multiple internet subscriptions and the April figures also take into account business subscribers.
In 2014-15, desktop and laptop computers still ruled the roost in terms of devices used to access the internet at home (94%). However, smartphones weren't far behind (86%) and tablets were also gaining more of a foothold at 62%; indicating an increasing number of households are accessing the web via multiple devices.
The average number of hours per week spent on the internet for personal use across all Australians was 10; although averages vary wildly between age groups. The 15-17 years bracket clocked up the highest number of average hours per week (18) and the 55–64 years and 65 years or over age groups were the lowest at 7 hours per week.
Australians are continuing to demonstrate they are quite comfortable with ecommerce. In 2014–15, 61% - 9.7 million people - had purchased goods or services online during a three month period. The most common purchases were music, movies, electronic games or books; followed by clothes, cosmetics and jewelry.
Rapidly disappearing in the rear-view mirror is the concept of leaving work at the office. We appear to be embracing the internet for home based work activities more, with 44% of the 11.7 million employed people aged 15 years and over accessing the internet for this purpose in a three month period.
While manager and professionals unsurprisingly accessed the internet for home based work the most; even machinery operators and labourers are doing so in significant numbers (16% each).
Read more here: Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2014-15
Trivia: Of an estimated 4 million home computer users in Australia in 1996, only 300,000 (7.5 per cent of Australians) accessed the Internet and 200,000 used email.