Irish people use smartphones to access the internet more than any other device, according to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office.
Yesterday’s release was the first time the CSO’s Information Society Statistics survey of households found that mobile phones are the most popular means by which users access the internet, with 83% of the 5,825 respondents choosing the mobile as their device of choice.
The CSO included the question in its survey in 2014, and found that 62% of those asked at the time indicated their mobile device was their preferred means of access, behind laptops and tablets which were chosen by 88% of respondents.
Now, the 2016 findings show that laptops or netbooks are used by 66% of individuals to access the internet, while tablets are used by 37% for internet access.
The survey also showed that the preferred device varied among demographics — 96% of people aged 16 to 29 years use a smartphone to access the internet, but by comparison just 50% of those in the 60-74 years age category use this type of phone for going online.
This year, 87% of households said they have an internet connection, up from 85% last year and an increase of 15 percentage points since 2010.
Fixed broadband is the most common type of internet access in the household — 79% of households avail of this compared with 45% using mobile broadband.
Fixed broadband connection is highest in the Dublin region at 91%, compared to the West, where just 62% of homes avail of this access to the internet. The 13% of households that have no internet access gave various reasons to explain this — 40% reported that this was due to a “lack of skills”.
Other households replied that equipment costs are too high (12%) and access costs too high (8%), while 38% of households without internet access reported that this is because they do not need internet.
The most popular activity among respondents is email (83%), followed by finding information about goods and services (82%), social networking (70%), and internet banking (64%).
Clothes and sports goods were the most popular online purchase in 2016, bought by 42% of respondents, followed by other travel arrangements (40%), and holiday accommodation and tickets for events, both at 38%.
More than half (51%) of those aged 16 to 29 years bought clothes or sports goods online, compared to just 12% of those aged 60 to 74.
This year an estimated 82% of individuals used the internet in the three months prior to the interview, compared with 80% in 2015.
There was a slight increase in the numbers who said they use storage space on the internet to store files electronically, up one percentage point on 2015 to 45% and an increase of 10 percentage points when compared with 2014.
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