U.K. Users Going Online to Get Away

Nearly half (48 percent) of the non-Internet users in Britain are interested in going online in order to take part in at least one Internet activity, according to Continental Research, and that activity often involves booking a trip.

As of April 2001, Continental Research found 26 percent of U.K. individuals were using the Internet at home, which shows a notable increase after a period of stagnant growth. In April 2000, at-home Internet penetration in Britain stood at 21 percent. In July and August of 2000, it leveled off at 22 percent, then rose to 23 percent in January of 2001 before reaching 26 percent in April.

Among the reasons for the increase, Continental cites reduced connection charges and a broadening of the Internet’s demographics in Britain. In particular, strong growth has been seen in the number of women going online, which has now reached 43 percent. The percentage of U.K. Internet users that are over age 45 and from economically disadvantaged groups remains low, however.

According to the kids.net report from NOP World, 75 percent of all 7 to 16-year-olds in Britain are now Internet users. A 10 percent surge in Internet growth among the young in the six months to April 2001 means there are now 5.6 million 7 to 16-year-old Internet users, up from 4.8 million in October 2000. The NOP survey also found that 2.7 million 7 to 16-year-old girls are Internet users, compared to 2.9 million boys.

Of the women online in Britain, more than one-quarter (26 percent) learned to use the Internet from their spouse or partner, according to Continental Research. Twenty-two percent cited trial and error as the method that best described their Internet learning experience, while 17 percent got help from their children. Nearly one-third of men (32 percent) said they got started online with the help of a start-up disk, 30 percent used trial and error and 18 percent got Internet experience from work.

Among the non-Internet users, 26 percent said they would like to be able to send letters and correspondence via email, while 18 percent expressed both an interest in both obtaining information on hobbies and interests and book last minute cheap vacations and flights. Forty-two percent of Internet users said they lied to book travel online, according to Continental Research.

Travel has become an increasingly popular Internet activity in Britain. According to data from Jupiter MMXI, the number of people going to travel sites peaked in June 2001 with more than 4.5 million Britons logging on to book a vacation or flight.

Online travel sites were increasingly popular throughout June and July of 2001, with a peak of 2.3 million users in the week ending July 15. Women tend to favor sites that sell only flights, such as CheapFlights.com and EasyJet.com, according to Jupiter MMXI, while researching and booking vacations is most popular among those in the highest income bracket (earning more than £45,000 per year).

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