US Internet Users Connecting Longer

A 35 percent jump in the number in the number of PCs in the US connected to the Internet means 53 percent of the nation’s PCs are now hooked up to the Net, according to ZD Market Intelligence.

Workplace PCs accounted for more than half of the Internet connection increase, as the number of connected PCs at work rose from 16 to 24 million since January. The findings are part of the Technology User Profile 1998 Mid-Year Study by ZD Market Intelligence. [IC_ARTICLE_OBJECT [SHOW IC_Article_ID] “table1”]

The study also found that 28 million home PCs were connected to the Internet, a 28 percent increase over the number from January 1998.

The people who are using these PCs to get on the Internet have not been doing it for very long. Almost half (44 percent) of Internet users have been surfing for less than a year.

“This is not surprising given that, in the first half of this year alone, 7 million US households joined the wired world,” said Miran Chun, Industry Analyst at ZD Market Intelligence. “The Internet has experienced an incredible run, and the growing popularity among mainstream users is keeping the momentum in perpetual motion.”

The survey found that the current US Internet penetration is 30 percent of all households or 61 percent of households with PCs. This represents a 30% increase since January of this year.

What people are doing online has remained relatively unchanged since the beginning of the year. E-mail is, by far, the No. 1 Internet activity followed by reading online publications, downloading software, and various e-commerce activities. However there is a noticeable trend toward longer connection times. Since January, the number of PCs that connect to the Internet more than 10 hours each week jumped from 19 to 27 percent as of August.

“As people begin to shift more of their day-to-day activities to the Net (such as playing games, reading newspapers and magazines and shopping), it wouldn’t surprise us to see at least a third of PCs spending more than 10 hours per week online by the end of the year,” Chun said.

Internet penetration increases with higher household income and education levels. Almost a third of U.S. households connected to the Internet has an annual income of $75,000 or greater, and over a quarter has completed post graduate studies. The presence of children in the home also appears to account for a higher incidence of Net access. Internet penetration among households with children is around 37 percent compared with 25 percent for those without.

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