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Introduction and Key Findings

This release has been compiled during the COVID-19 crisis. The results contained in this release reflect the changes in household and individual ICT usage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The data in this release was collected as part of the Quarter 1 Labour Force Survey data collection. The achieved sample size for the quarter was 11,773 responses for the main ICT indicators and 812 responses for more detailed ICT usage. The results in this release refer to data collected from households for three weeks in January and three weeks in March (following the introduction of the Government containment measures on March 16th). The data was collected via a mix of face-to-face and telephone interviewing. To ensure a timely release of this information, the data was weighted to agree with the most up to date population estimates (Quarter 4 2019). The full quarter results for Quarter 1 2020 will be published later in the year. Due to the choices made around sample size and weighting to ensure a timely dissemination of this data, some care should be exercised in interpreting the data. For further information see Background Notes.

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This publication reports on the key features of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected ICT usage by households and individuals in the State. It is based on the results of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Household Survey, which collects data on households' access to, and individuals' use of the internet. The results of this survey are usually reported upon annually by the CSO and are based on a full quarter's data, but, to give users key insights into the changes in household and individual ICT usage arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, CSO has quickly analysed the results of this survey for three weeks in January and three weeks in March, beginning the 16th March, following the closure of schools, colleges, childcare facilities, cultural institutions, etc. and the commencement of the initial measures put in place by the Government, including stay at home measures and only essential workers continuing to go to their place of work.

This analysis is for the purpose of producing early indicators of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on households’ and individuals' use of the internet during this period. Analysis is provided across key socio-demographic characteristics, reflecting how COVID-19 has impacted the ICT usage of households and individuals.

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Comparing data collected during the three weeks following initial Government measures put in place to contain the COVID-19 pandemic (three weeks commencing 16th March) with a similar period in January (three weeks commencing 20th January):

  • Almost seven in every eight daily internet users (84%) used the internet Every day or almost every day, compared with 81% surveyed in January. See Table 1.1.
  • Of these daily internet users, nearly one in ten (9%) use the internet All the time, compared with 7% in January. A further 22% stated that they use the internet Nearly all the time, an increase of three percentage points on a similar reference period in January. See Table 1.1 and Figure 1.1.
  • The online purchase of Cleaning products or personal hygiene products (includes toothbrushes, washing detergents, etc.) doubled in March to 10% compared with 5% in January. See Table 1.1.
  • Of internet users surveyed in March, one in six (16%) made online purchases in the previous three months of Furniture home accessories or gardening products, an increase of six percentage points on a similar period in January. See Table 1.1.
  • One twelfth (8%) stated that they purchased Apps related to health or fitness, compared with just 3% in January. See Table 1.1.
  • The online purchase of Tickets for cultural or other events (including cinema, concerts, fairs, etc.) dropped in March – 23% compared with 39% in January. See Table 1.1.
  • Communicating with instructors or students using educational websites/portals almost doubled  – 13% of internet users in March compared with 7% in the corresponding survey period in January. See Table 1.1.
Show Table: Table 1.1 Individuals use of the internet, January and March 2020

All the time7
Nearly all
the time
Several times a day53
Briefly 1 or 2 times a day21
All the time9
Nearly all
the time
Several times a day48
Briefly 1 or 2 times a day21

View tables on Statbank.

Go to:Frequency of Internet Usage