15 May 2020
Go to release: Impact of COVID-19 on ICT Usage by Households
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (15 May 2020) published details on how ICT usage by households and individuals has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commenting on the data, Statistician, Maureen Delamere, said:
"Irish life has changed following the introduction in March of the measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic. People are at home a lot more now, with schools and many workplaces closed. This has had an effect of people’s use of the internet during this time.
The changes have impacted in the way people are doing their shopping and what they are buying. Clothes and sports goods which were usually the most popular online purchase, have decreased in March while the purchase of food or drink from shops or meal-kit providers has more than doubled from 6% in January to 13% of internet users in March. Similarly, the online purchase of cleaning products or personal hygiene products (includes toothbrushes, washing detergents, etc.) doubled in March to 10% of internet users (compared with 5% in January).
As part of the measures put in place in March, all DIY, home furnishing and gardening stores were closed. Of internet users surveyed in March one in six (16%) had purchased furniture, home accessories or gardening products online, an increase of six percentage points on a similar period in January.
Similarly, home schooling and remote working from home has had an effect on the ICT usage of individuals. Nine in every ten (90%) internet users surveyed in three weeks in March (since the introduction of these new measures) used e-mail, an increase of four percentage points on the corresponding figure for January. With an increase in the number of persons remote working from home or home schooling, and remote meetings by phone, where possible, there has also been an increase in the use of internet telephoning/video calls (such as Skype, Zoom, etc.) – nearly three quarters (74%) of internet users used this method of communication in March, an increase of two percentage points on the corresponding period in January (72%).
In addition, with all primary, second and third level students continuing their education at home, online teaching and learning and the use of online learning platforms for students of all ages has increased. Communicating with instructors or students using educational websites/portals almost doubled during this time – 13% of internet users in March compared with 7% in the corresponding survey period in January. Similarly, using online learning material other than a complete online course (includes audio-visual materials, online learning software, electronic textbook, etc.) increased during this time also, with 23% of internet users surveyed in March, using this online resource, compared with 18% in January."
Usually the results of the ICT Household Survey are published on an annual basis and are based on the results of a full quarter's data. It should be noted that the analysis in this publication is based on just six weeks of data, three weeks in January and three weeks in March, following the implementation of the Government containment measures. This analysis is to produce early indicators of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on households’ and individuals' use of the internet during this period.
The total achieved sample size for the main ICT indicator questions in Quarter 1 was 11,773 responses, and 812 responses for questions on detailed ICT usage. Due to the early publication of these results, population estimates are not yet available for Quarter 1 2020 so for the purposes of weighting the data to the overall population, Quarter 4 2019 LFS (Labour Force Survey) weighted data was used and extrapolated to an estimate of population numbers for Quarter 1 2020.
Maureen Delamere (+353) 21 453 5081 or Caroline Barrett (+353) 21 453 5485
or email Socialmodules@cso.ie
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