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| [Industry Forecast '99] Australia's Home Use of Internet Expands Dramatically
January 7, 1999 (SYDNEY, Australia) -- Home usage of the Internet expanded
46 percent in 1998, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
|Non-government surveys also point to similar growth trends, especially
among younger people.
The December NetWatch study of ACNielsen
Australia revealed that Australian teenagers are "switched on" to
using the Internet at home. A total of 71 percent of Australian teenagers
aged 14 to 17 years have a computer and Internet access at home.
"As PCs have become less expensive, home Internet usage has grown in
Australia and is still growing," said Mark Henning, ACNielsen's interactive
services manager. "And with more facilities becoming available over
the Internet, I doubt if this current growth will slow."
Australia's largest computer retail chain, Harvey Norman Pty Ltd., also
is witnessing this brisk growth.
"We have noticed an incredible surge in Internet usage," said Tony Gattari,
Harvey Norman's general manager for computers and communications. "The
Internet tends to be one of the driving forces for people purchasing
their first computer."
"This surge began about a year ago. It used to be multimedia that was
the key selling point -- people would ask if a PC had a CD-ROM. Now
they ask if a PC is Internet-ready."
Gattari believes that constant references to the Internet on television,
in newspapers and other media have had a powerful effect on consumers.
He said that virtually all the desktop PCs that Harvey Norman sells are
equipped with a built-in modem. For Australia's modem manufacturers
Technologies Ltd. , this has meant a change in the company's marketing
Sirius makes some of the best-known Australian modems, including the
Netcomm and Banksia brands.
"Because the norm now is for retailers to include modems with their PCs,
we are focusing on the PC builders and system assemblers to make sure
we get our products into the computers that go into homes," said Cam
Wayland, Sirius' business strategy manager.
"I think some of the reason that the home Internet market was a little
slower to take off in Australia in the beginning was cost. The cost
of Internet access here is significantly higher than in the United States.
But prices have come down and this market has accelerated rapidly over
the last four to six months."
The ACNielsen survey shows that even in the home market, electronic mail
is listed as the major use for the Internet (66 percent), followed by
general surfing (55 percent).
Sourcing information on products and services (43 percent) and downloading
software (42 percent) also ranked high. However, playing games and reading
electronic magazines were less common Internet activities.
"Australians are traditionally early adopters of technology and are now
increasingly making sure that their homes are equipped to take advantage
of the latest developments in computer technology. Over the next ten
years we can expect to see on average nearly two computers in every
home as the computer becomes a major hub for communications, purchasing
and entertainment," Henning said.
here for more New Year features.
(Neil Munro, Asia BizTech Correspondent)
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