More than one third of Irish people spend in excess of 20 hours a week online, with social media the main driving force behind internet use.
Broadband, which is available to 95% of Irish homes, has now become almost as important as electricity, a new study shows.
Research from independent price comparison and switching website, Switcher.ie has revealed that more than a third of Irish people are spending more than 20 hours online per week while a quarter of broadband users spend between 11-20 hours online in a typical week.
On average, Irish adults spend 13 hours per week online with 35-44-year-olds more likely to spend less than four hours online. The research also shows that 95% of homes across Ireland have broadband access while 73% have broadband as part of a bundled product, with just 23% claiming to have standalone broadband.
Researchers found that for 70% of people, social media is one of the primary reasons for spending time online. Social networking was revealed as the most popular online activity for 16-24-year-olds, with 87% of this cohort logging on to social networks in a typical month.
This activity is less popular with those aged 55 and over but 58% of people in this group are still using the internet for social networking. The study reveals that 56% of people watch films, TV programmes and other video content online. This rises to 82% for those aged between 16 and 24.
Making phone calls online has also been revealed as a popular activity, with almost a third (31%) of people making a phone call over the internet in the past month.
Eoin Clarke, managing director of Switcher.ie says: “This research shows the huge impact that the internet is having on Irish life. Broadband is now a necessity — as important to our quality of life as gas or electricity. The only utility contract that is more prevalent than broadband in homes in Ireland is electricity. 100% of homes have electricity and 95% of homes have broadband. With the popularity of broadband it is important to make sure you are on the right package.
“The survey showed that 36% of people in Ireland are spending more than 20 hours online so we would call on consumers to check and be aware of data allowances on their broadband bills.
“Our reliance looks set to increase dramatically over the coming years as younger generations come to the fore, putting the Government under even more pressure to deliver universal broadband access across the whole country.”
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