Welcome to AsiaBizTech Web Site

Top Page
Site Map
News at a Glance Member Services AsiaBizTech Resources

Advanced Search

(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

New Year Special Features '99

  • [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 like Sirius Technologies Ltd. , this has meant a change in the company's marketing strategies.

    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.

    Click here for more New Year features.

    (Neil Munro, Asia BizTech Correspondent)

    <Visit News Center for more Asian news.>

    Copyright © 1997-98
    Nikkei BP BizTech, Inc.
    All Rights Reserved.
    Updated: Wed Jan 6 16:38:50 1999 PDT