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Type of Internet Activities

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Home schooling and remote working from home has had an effect on the ICT usage of individuals since the introduction of the measures introduced as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Email is now 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. In 2020, email was the most popular internet activity carried out by both males and females (both at 86%). Email was also the most popular internet activity for internet users in the 16 to 29 and 30 to 44 years age groups, both at 93%, while over eight in ten (82%) of internet users aged 45 to 74 years used email. See Table 3.1 and Figure 3.1.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people are remote working from home where possible. Nearly nine out of every ten (89%) of internet users whose principal economic status was At work used email, while email was the most popular internet activity for 82% of Retired persons (who used the internet in the previous three months) and internet users whose principal economic status was Home duties. See Table 3.1.

Show Table: Table 3.1 Individuals who used the internet in the last 3 months classified by types of internet activities, 2020

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2020
Email86
Finding information on goods and services79
Instant messaging79
Internet banking76
Reading or downloading online news75
Internet telephoning/ video calls73
Watching video content from sharing services68
Social networking69
Seeking health related information66
Listening to music59
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On-site education was not possible in the period covered by this survey (Q1 & Q2 2020) as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in more online education. In addition, some, extra-curricular activities such as music lessons, dance lessons, gymnastics classes, etc. were carried out using internet telephoning or video calls like Zoom.  2020 has seen a large increase in the use of internet telephoning/video calls (Skype, Zoom, etc.) – 73% of internet users having carried out this internet activity in 2020 compared with 48% of internet users using this form of communication in 2019. See Table 3.1 for 2020 data and see link for 2019 data for reference.

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Three quarters (75%) of internet users reported Reading or downloading online news (including online news sites, newspapers or magazines), an increase of two percentage points on the corresponding figure for 2019. People also chose social networking (includes creating user profiles, posting messages or other contributions to Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, WhatsApp, TikTok, etc.) to communicate with friends, family, work and school groups, etc. with 69% of internet users engaged in such communication channels, an increase of one percentage point on 2019. See Table 3.1 for 2020 data and see link for 2019 data for reference.

Sharing or publishing self-created videos, photos, music, texts etc. on a website or via app was carried out by four in ten (40%) internet users in 2020, an increase of one percentage point on 2019. See Table 3.2 for 2020 data and see link for 2019 data for reference.

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With the closure of banks and other financial institutions, the use of internet banking and mobile banking increased. 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 for 2020 data and see link for 2019 data for reference.

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With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, people were going online to find health related information and to access health services. Two thirds (66%) of internet users reported Seeking health related information, an increase of three percentage points on 2019. See Table 3.1 for 2020 data and see link for 2019 data for reference.

New categories relating to accessing health services online, were introduced to the survey in 2020. These include Making an appointment with a practitioner (such as to get a prescription), Accessing personal health records online, and Using other health services (via a website or app, instead of visiting a doctor). One in six (16%) of internet users used the internet for Making an appointment with a practitioner (such as to get a prescription), 4% Accessing personal health records online, while one in twelve (8%) reported Using other health services (via a website or app, instead of visiting a doctor). See Table 3.1.

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With more people having to stay at home during the period covered by this survey, more people are using the internet for entertainment purposes. Nearly seven in every ten (68%) of internet users reported Watching video content from sharing services (YouTube, TikTok, etc.) , 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. Over one quarter (26%) of internet users reported Playing or downloading games. Note that these internet activities were included in the survey for the first time in 2020. See Table 3.1, Table 3.2 and Figure 3.2.

Show Table: Table 3.2 Individuals who used the internet in the last 3 months classified by types of internet activities, 2020

2020
Watching Video on Demand from commercial services55
Watching internet streamed TV50
Uploading self created content40
Playing or downloading games26
Making an appointment with a practitioner via a website or app16
Accessing personal health records online4
Using other health services via a website or app8
Selling of goods or services8

The survey shows that there was a sharp decrease in the numbers of persons who bought or renewed existing insurance policies online in 2020 – 22% of internet users who recently used the internet compared with 42% of those internet users in 2019. Only 14% of Unemployed persons bought or renewed existing insurance policies, compared with 31% in 2019.  This decrease could be related to the pandemic restrictions where some forms of insurance (e.g. travel insurance) may not have been seen as necessary for this year. See Table 3.3.

Show Table: Table 3.3 Individuals who used the internet in the last 3 months by type of financial activity, 2020

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