The number of Australians accessing the Internet at home has steadily increased since 1998, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Internet use by adults rose from 54 per cent to 58 per cent between 2001 and 2002, compared to 1998 when only 31 per cent of adults used it.
The findings concluded that access to the Internet — and the use of computers — was highest in younger age groups, but decreased with age. The percentage of use was also higher in metropolitan areas.
The percentage of Australian adults using the Internet anywhere continued to rise in 2002; access to computers appeared to have stabilised.
An ABS spokesperson said the majority of Internet use was to make financial transfers, such as paying bills and banking.
In 2002, the Internet was used by 23 per cent of adults to pay bills or transfer funds, up from 17 per cent in 2001.
Internet shopping also contributed to the growth with 15 per cent of adults using the Internet to buy goods. This was up from 11 per cent in 2001.
The number of Internet shoppers has increased by 34 per cent since 2001. The amount they spent also grew.
Internet shoppers spent about $1.9 billion in 2001 compared with at least $4 billion in 2002.