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Introduction and Key Findings

This publication has been compiled during the COVID-19 crisis. The results contained in this publication reflect some of the changes in household and individual ICT usage resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The data in this publication was collected as part of the Labour Force Survey data collection in Quarters 1 and 2 and was collected via a mix of face-to-face and telephone interviewing. For further information seee Background Notes.

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The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Household Survey is carried out on an annual basis and collects data on households’ access to, and individuals’ use of the internet. The survey covers a range of topics related to internet penetration and the use of ICT by households and individuals, providing information on households’ and individuals’ use of the internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs). The ICT Household Survey data is collected directly from private households. Questions about individuals' ICT activities and internet usage are asked only of persons aged 16 years and over. Institutional households (e.g. nursing homes, barracks, boarding schools, hotels etc.) are not covered by the survey.

The survey questionnaire is based on Eurostat's annual Model Questionnaire on ICT usage in households and by individuals. The Eurostat Model Questionnaire has a core set of questions, which are asked on an annual basis. Survey questions change from year to year to reflect changes in the use of technology and use of the internet, and to obtain new, relevant information on different topics relating to the use of the internet and technology. Additional modules on ICT are repeated annually, biennially or triennially. In addition, special modules or topics on new emerging concepts or technologies are also included each year. In 2020, there are additional questions relating to Internet Security, Smartphone Security and Smart Technology. Additional questions of national interest are also included in the national questionnaire.

In many ways, 2020 has been the year of the COVID-19 pandemic.  This pandemic has reshaped Irish life in so many ways and in terms of ICT usage, it has impacted the frequency of use of ICT and the use to which ICT has been put by so many people across Ireland.  We now shop more online and the use of online education has increased in response to the restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic.  To address the policy and information needs of society arising from COVID-19, an early version of this publication was published on 15th May 2020, based on an early cut of the data collection (Impact of COVID-19 on ICT Usage by Households).  This current publication updates that earlier publication, based as it is on the data collection for the full two quarters of Quarter 1 and Quarter 2.


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  • Over eight in every ten (81%) use the internet Every day or almost every day, an increase of two percentage points on 2019. See Table 2.2.
  • Of these daily internet users, nearly one in ten (9%) use the internet All the time, while a further 20% stated that they use the internet Nearly all the timeSee Table 2.3.
  • Email is the most popular activity carried out on the internet - 86% of internet users surveyed in 2020 used email, an increase of two percentage points on 2019. See Table 3.1.
  • Over three quarters (76%) of internet users used internet banking in 2020, compared with 73% in 2019, an increase of three percentage points. See Table 3.1.
  • Nearly seven in every ten (68%) internet users reported Watching video content from sharing services (YouTube, TikTok, etc.) see Table 3.1, while 55% were Watching video on demand (from commercial services such as Netflix, Disney+, HBO GO, Amazon Prime). Half of internet users were Watching internet streamed TV (live or catch up from TV broadcasters). See Table 3.2.
  • Over five in ten (53%) internet users obtained information from public authorities’/public services’ websites or apps, an increase of three percentage points on 2019. See Table 4.1.
  • The most popular online purchase was Clothes, shoes or accessories (includes bags, jewellery, etc.) (63%) while nearly one quarter (24%) bought Sports goods. See Table 6.2.
  • One third (33%) of internet users bought online Ready-made food delivered (includes takeaways), while 17% purchased food/drinks from stores or meal-kit providers. See Table 6.2.
  • Over one fifth (21%) of internet users reported Communicating with instructors or students using educational websites/portals, an increase of seven percentage points on 2019. See Table 8.1.


Go to: Frequency of Internet Usage