New Online Activities Show Greatest Growth

Relatively new Internet activities such as blogs, video, and phone calls are the fastest-growing in terms of usage, though old standby services like e-mail and shopping continue to dominate Internet users’ time. A report released by Mediamark Research observes adult Internet users’ online activities.

A few new activities, while small in reach, show the highest growth. Voice over IP calling is used by 2.6 percent of American adults who use the Internet, but has seen year-to-year increase of 197.7 percent. About 6.7 percent of adults have visited blogs, a 163.9 percent increase from a year ago. Video is watched by 11.4 percent of U.S. adults, up 123.7 percent over 2005 data.

“We should not be surprised that relatively newer activities on the Internet have lower overall usage,” said Anne Marie Kelly, VP of marketing and strategic planning at MRI, in a statement.

Internet Activities of U.S. Adults with Access to the Internet
Activities Performed in Last 30 Days All Adults Fall 2006 % Change From Fall 2005 % Change From Fall 2002 %
Used e-mail 70.5 +1.6 +9.7
Obtained the latest news/current events 40.2 -4.6 +12.3
Made a purchase for personal use 34.2 +5.7 +57.7
Paid bills online 30.7 N/A N/A
Used instant messenger 26.8 +20.6 N/A
Obtained financial information 24.8 -5.2 +21.4
Obtained sports news/information 23.8 -7.0 +15.1
Played games online 22.4 -1.3 +22.4
Made personal or business travel plans 19.8 -0.5 +24.9
Obtained medical information 17.4 -2.5 +26.2
Downloaded music 15.7 +23.3 N/A
Visited a TV network’s or TV show’s website 14.1 -1.7 +35.1
Tracked investments/traded stocks, bonds or mutual funds 13.2 N/A N/A
Obtained information about real estate 12.3 -8.3 +36.6
Looked for employment 12.1 -7.7 +11.3
Watched online video 11.4 +123.7 N/A
Listened to radio on the internet 10.9 +3.8 +25.6
Made a purchase for business use 10.7 +2.4 +51.5
Obtained information for a new car purchase 10.0 -12.1 -2.7
Visited online blogs 6.7 +163.9 N/A
Made a phone call online 2.6 +197.7 N/A
Used online gambling site 2.2 N/A N/A
Source: Mediamark Research Inc., Fall 2006
N/A=Activities not included in 2005 or 2002 Surveys.

Top online activities include e-mail (70.5 percent), though year-to-year growth is 1.6 percent from 2005; reading news and current events (40.2 percent) which is down 4.6 percent from the same time last year; and e-commerce purchases (34.2 percent) which grew 5.7 percent over last year, and 57.7 percent year-over-year growth since 2002. Sales from e-commerce continue to grow over the holiday season.

Finance categories such as paying bills online and tracking and trading stocks account for 30.7 percent and 13.2 percent of U.S. adults respectively. These two categories are new to the MRI survey.

The data are a portion of an extensive survey conducted by Mediamark Research in September and October. In-person interviews were conducted in the homes of about 26,000 respondents. The subset of data in this release is limited to respondents with Internet access, about 80 percent of the survey pool.

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