Australians main use for internet is for social networking

Apart from surfing the web and email, Australians are spending 25% of their total time on the internet using social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. When asked, ‘Apart from browsing the internet and email, what do you do the most while on the internet?’ the poll carried out by Compare Broadband (, a comprehensive and free Broadband Internet comparison site, confirmed the view that Australians main use for the internet is to connect with other people. The poll also showed we are spending less money online, but that a mainstream audience is now accessing online news sources.

According to Nielsen, over two-thirds of the global online population have visited a social networking site. They have also found, ‘social networks and blogs have become the fourth most popular online category - ahead of personal email.’

According to the Newspaper Association of America, ‘over one-third of all internet users visit newspaper sites.’ However, online news sites have proven more popular in Australia than in the UK or the US, according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers study.

More than 70 % of Australians visited a social networking site in June of 2009, according to comScore, a marketing research company. In May of the same year, more than 80 % of the UK population had visited a social networking site. comScore states the UK is leading the way for social networking participation in Europe, while Singapore leads the Asia-pacific region.

Facebook remains the leader for social networking sites in Australia and the UK, with more than six million users in Australia, and twenty million in the UK. In China, Facebook rates only number four, with QQ being at the top of the list with 300 million viewers.

Compared Broadband’s poll found that in Australia downloading music and movies made up 19 % of users’ most popular online activities. This is a stark contrast to China where online music tops the list of online activities, says the Chinese Internet Network Information Centre. eMarketer, a research and trend analysis on digital marketing and media, has forecast that, ‘US consumer spending on digital music and television will approach USD $7.8 billion in 2010, up from USD $1.3 billion in 2005.’

A report produced by Business Insights has found that the most developed markets for digital music include Japan, the US and Western European countries, while ‘emerging markets that present enormous potential include China, India and Brazil.’

The poll showed online shopping only received 7 percent of votes as the most popular online activity. According to a study by TNS, a market information group, Australians are shopping online, but are spending less when compared to other countries. The Digital World Digital Life Study found that Australian online shoppers spent an average of $760 in a month, compared to a global average of $3160. Australia is still ahead of the US and UK, with a total spending of as little as $290 and $230 respectively for the same month.

The Compare Broadband poll received a total of 1,068 votes, with 25% of contributors voting for ‘Social networking’, 19% for ‘Downloading movies and music’, 17% for ‘Reading the News’, 16% for ‘Internet gaming’, 8% for ‘Watching YouTube videos’, 7% for ‘Online shopping’, 3% for ‘Videoblogging and podcasting’ and 6% for ‘Other’.