Internet usage in Australia grew by an average of 31 per cent in January across the top 20 Australian sites compared with figures from December, according to Web research company IMR Worldwide.
And Australian Web retailers should be encouraged. According to IMR, almost half of the pur-chases made online by Australians in 1999 were made from a Web site based in Australia, up from a third the previous year.
Ian Lowe, general manager, Australiasia, IMR Worldwide, attributed the strong rise of Internet use in January to an upturn in workplace usage following summer holidays.
"December was obviously lower to a degree, but because people are returning to work it came up substantially," Lowe said. "Usage at work is remarkably different to usage at home."
Unlike other Web ratings companies, IMR Worldwide surveys home Internet users and workplace users.
Lowe said, compared with results from December, the January figures contain less e-commerce sites, but "there is still no doubt the Internet community is growing".
According to the IMR research, top Australian sites visited by Australians include ninemsn.com.au, telstra.com.au, whitepages.com.au and news.com.au.
Top international sites visited by Australians during January included microsoft.com and yahoo.com.
According to IMR, this category saw a 23 per cent increase in visitors over December figures.