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ONS 2020 Study – 2.7 Million UK Adults Have Not Used the Internet

Friday, August 7th, 2020 (4:11 pm) - Score 808
office for national statistics UK

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today published their latest annual 2020 Internet Access report, which reveals that 5% (2.7 million) of UK adults have not used the internet in the past 3 months and that’s down from 7% (3.9 million) last year. Sadly issues of age and disability remain key barriers to adoption.

On the flip side 96% of households (95% if just counting people) in Great Britain had internet access, which is up from 93% in 2019 and 57% in 2006 when comparable records began. Similarly, 100% of people aged 16-34 classify themselves as “daily or almost daily” internet users, but this falls to 98% for those aged 35-44, 96% for those aged 45-54, 86% for those aged 55-64 and just 67% for those over the age of 65.

Some 85% of people considered to be disabled under the Equality Act also access the internet on a daily bases, although this falls to 91% for all disabled people. As for what we all do online, the top activity is still sending and receiving emails (85%), while the least popular activity is accessing personal public health records (8%).

However, on a separate table, it’s noted that 87% of all adults shopped online within the last 12 months, which is up from 53% in 2008; those aged 65 years and over had the highest growth in this area, rising from 16% to 65% over this period. The most common online purchase was for clothes, shoes and accessories, by 55% of adults, followed by deliveries from restaurants, fast-food chains or catering services, bought by 32% of adults.

top_2020_internet_activities_uk

We should point out that most of the data for this update was collected just before the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown hit (i.e. the data stems from January to February 2020), which might well have had a noticeable impact on some of the statistics. You can see a lot more stats by checking out the full report.

As we always say, not everybody wants to use the internet and nobody should force it on to those who don’t want or need it, but equally support should always exist for those who wish to give it a try. Admittedly this philosophy will become increasingly strained as the Government continues to extend its digital-by-default strategy and the COVID-19 crisis continues.

The fact that fixed line superfast broadband ISP or mobile broadband networks aren’t yet able to reach every single corner of the UK is another issue. The 10Mbps broadband USO was supposed to solve this but tens of thousands fall outside of the cost limits for that.

Leave a Comment
4 Responses
  1. Avatar Nobroadband says:

    It would be interesting to see if the USO has done anything to help people with no unusable access to the internet and with no mobile signal. Or is this just such a small percentage its of no importance or consequence.

  2. Avatar Buggerlugz says:

    Of course they have, you can now get a gigabit line installed to your home for around £40k. Bet they’re selling like hotcakes!

    1. Avatar CarlT says:

      My first gigabit cost zero to install, the second a princely £9.99.

      Your mileage may vary.

  3. Avatar tonyp says:

    As a septuagenarian who has (mis)spent most of my working life with online computers, I am a daily user of the ‘net. I do buy stuff (mostly techie) online but I do not:-
    1) Buy clothing online – I like to see what I am buying and whether it fits, suits me. My online clothing shopping has been hit and miss. At the moment, I am missing seeing what is for sale due to the lurgee.
    2) Buy food online – I am not a fast food eater so those deliverwhasit stuff is not for me. Whilst I could use the supermarket online services, I like to see what fresh stuff is available and also look for something different by looking at the labels on items. I also like to browse deli’s for something tasty.
    3) I have little interest in social media, streaming awful movies and I like having my music as source material (e.g CD’s). Thus FB, Instathingy, Netflux and so on are not useful to me. I do not have thousands of ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ and do not enjoy being a target for all the advertising it brings with it. I havn’t bumped into a lamppost, another person or stepped off a pavement without looking due to concentrating on my smartphone.

    In other words, the ‘net is a useful tool but I will not live my life by it. I suppose that make me a grumpy old g*t but at least I can solder an SMD component, read a datasheet, compile a kernel and run my domestic network.

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