Over 9 in 10 UK adults now regular internet users, claims ONS

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More people than ever were regular internet users in 2020, figures just released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

According to its data, 92% of all UK adults went online in 2020, up from 91% in 2019. London was once again named the UK region with the highest recent internet use, with 95% of residents online, while Northern Ireland remained the lowest at 88%.

The figures show that almost all adults aged 16 to 44 (99%) were online and 54% of those aged 75 and over had recently used the internet, with the number of elderly people going online having nearly doubled since 2013.

The ONS suggested that the sharp rise in use among older people could be partly related to the effects of the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic as millions of people began to take to the internet to stay in touch with friends and family.

Elsewhere, the figures show that 6.3% of adults in the UK have never used the internet, down from 7.5% in 2019, while the number of disabled adults who had used the internet was up to 81% in 2020, compared with 78% in 2019.

Says Marcus Hamilton, founder of the online community, Frindow.com:

“The penetration of communication platforms like Skype, WhatsApp and Zoom is now so deep that the technophobia many older people may have had in the past is quickly evaporating.

“These days, the platforms are so intuitive and easy to use that the barriers to entry for older people simply aren’t there any more.

“Smartphones and tablet devices have been a particularly powerful entry point for older people to get connected on the internet, as they are more user-friendly and easier to use wherever you are.

“The fact that more older people are now using the internet has opened the door to opportunities for meeting new people and being more socially engaged than ever before.”

However, the stats should not be used as an overall indicator of the impact of the pandemic, the ONS warned, as the data was gathered between January and March 2020, just as the outbreak began in the UK.

 

 

Chris Price
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