Over 80% of Irish households have access to the web

Virtually every house in Ireland now has a computer, with well over half of the population using the internet every day.

The latest figures on Ireland’s information society from the CSO show 83% of households now have access to a computer in the home, up from 70% in 2008.

Some 81% of homes also have access to the internet, an increase of almost 20% on four years ago.

Households with a computer were focused in the Dublin region where 86% of all households had a computer and the Mid-East region where 90% had one.

In all other regions more than 80% of households had a computer with the exception of the border (78%) and Midlands (77%).

Similarly, the highest rates of broadband were recorded in the Dublin and Mid-East region with 86% and 87% respectively. The lowest number of households with broadband was recorded in the Midlands at 74%.

A broadband study released by the European Commission earlier this month found that nowhere outside Dublin has more than 25% high-speed broadband coverage, with many rural areas close to zero.

However, it did stress that high-speed coverage in the capital is already at 89%.

The CSO study shows more than three quarters of the population have used the internet in the past three months while 58% now use the internet every day. This is an increase of 11% on the figure in 2008.

According to the data, the most popular activities engaged in by individuals who accessed the internet in the last three months were: sending and receiving emails (66%), finding information about goods or services (63%), using services related to travel or travel related accommodation (46%) and social networking (45%).

Just 33% accessed their news online, amongst the lowest in the EU.

The most popular buys in the past year were for travel arrangements (30%), holiday accommodation (28%) and tickets for events (27%).

Unsurprisingly, young people by far outweighed older people in terms of internet use with 92% of individuals aged between 16 and 29 having been online in the last three months.

In contrast, just 40% of individuals aged between 60 and 74 used the internet during the same period.

Over half of people in the latter age group admitted to having never used the internet, along with almost one quarter of those aged between 45 and 59. Just 3% of those between 16 and 29 have never been online.

Top buys

Percentage of internet purchases by individuals in 2011 and 2012:

Food and groceries: 4%-4%

Household goods: 8%-10%

Clothes, sports goods: 17%-20%

Electronic equipment: 13%-12%

Share purchases, financial services: 5%-7%

Films, music: 14%-14%

Books, magazines, newspapers, e-learning material: 14%-16%

Computer software and upgrades: 6%-8%

Computer hardware: 8%-4%

Telecommunication services: 4%-8%

Accommodation for holidays: 28%-28%

Travel plans: 30%-30%

Tickets for events: 27%-27%

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