One in four Australians online

Australia and Singapore are the leading users of Internet technology in the Asian region according to a recent survey by ACNielsen.

Spanning 16 countries and 150,000 users, the report concluded that the two nations were by far the most prolific users, with one in every four people using the Internet in both countries, beating out traditional rival Hong Kong who only polled half that rate.

According to ACNielsen's director of media services, Steve Garton, these statistics indicate that Australia is ready for e-commerce. "These findings will have tremendous policy implications for governments in the region getting serious about using e-commerce to further benefit from global trade," anticipates Garton.

The onset of e-commerce is further reinforced by the statistics that students, "tomorrow's professionals", according to Garton, are the number one users with 58 per cent, followed by PMEB's (professional, managers, executives and business people) with 47 per cent.

According to the survey, Australians are mostly involved with the Internet through e-mail and general surfing. This is reinforced by the fact that most Internet access occurs in the home. Business interaction involves gathering information about a product or service, an indication that online shopping is becoming a competitive force in the retail industry.

The research also stipulates that females are becoming more addicted to the Web and are closing the once significant gap between female and male users, with current figures at 21 per cent and 29 per cent respectively.