Back in 2009 Susan was informed by a delegate at an accountants’ conference than only 20% of his clients used email. Are you worried some of your clients aren’t using the internet?

I must admit, I’ve never had this worry; who doesn’t use the internet? But it got me to thinking, maybe some people don’t use the internet and wondered how much this might have changed since Susan looked into this 5 years ago.

Cast your mind back to 2009…
The year MPs’ expenses were exposed, Woolworths closed its doors for the last time, Obama was elected President of the US, Michael Jackson died and the UK came 5th in the Eurovision Song Contest with “It’s My Time” sung by Jade Ewen. Maybe not so many of us remember that last one, but do you remember how you found out about these things?

For me:

MPs’ Expenses:
News on TV

News on TV

Michael Jackson:
Text message

Eurovision song contest:
Wikipedia (although I did only find this out today)

Compared to some of last year’s big headlines:

Death of Nelson Mandela:
BBC website

Birth of the Royal Baby:
BBC website

Boston Marathon Bombing:

Helicopter crashes in Central London:
News on TV

Although I do continue to watch BBC News every morning, I seem to be using the internet in a different way, especially when it comes to the news. How did you find out about these events, does behaviour reflect mine? For me, anecdotally there seems to be a shift but does the research by the Office of National Statistics reflect this?

Back in 2009 Susan was inspired to find out about the online habits in the UK. Here are some of the interesting findings she reported on:

Susan’s key findings:

70% of people aged 65 or over have never used the internet

93% of people with a degree do have access to the internet from home

29% of women have never used the internet, whereas only 20% of men have never been online

Susan’s findings were based on the 2008 Internet Access Report and I’ve used the 2013 report, find them both here.

Interesting. Unfortunately, the dimensions of the most recent report (Oct 2013) aren’t quite the same so I can’t directly compare these. But by consulting both reports I am able to almost directly compare some stats and here are the most interesting I found:

Percentage of UK households with internet access:





Not only were access numbers hugely different, but the ways people were accessing the internet have changed significantly. Fibre optic or cable connections are used by 42% or households whereas these phrases weren’t even mentioned in the 2008 report!


Percentage of UK adults that have ever purchased goods or services over the internet:





Not only was there an increase in adults that had purchased goods online, but the number of people selling items online through sites like eBay and Amazon has doubled since 2007. Now we have nearly half of adults aged 25-34 having sold goods or services online.


Adults who use their mobile phone to access the internet:





The mobile section on the 2008 report is the most staggering of all. Just the mention of accessing the internet using “mobile phone via GPRS” says it all really.


Percentage of the adult population that have used the internet, ever:





It is clear to see all around us that the younger generation are using the internet a staggering amount, but what is interesting in this report is it is concentrated on adults and allows us to appreciate the uptake from different age groups. For example in 2008 70% of over 65’s had never used the internet compared with 36% in 2013.

My plan for this article was to find the most recent Internet Access document from the Office for National Statistics and compare the results, but what I have found is really quite telling. Although I am able to compare some things, like the information you see above, what is most striking is the difference in the way the internet is spoken about. The changes in how we use the internet is clear, the absence of social networking or social media is huge:

The phrase “Social Network” used in report:





 We’ve seen that the use of mobile phones to connect to the internet has increased dramatically. This is even clearer when reading the 2008 report in the way mobile internet is spoken about, for example the suggested ‘activities on a mobile phone’ completed in the last three months for adults only include:

–          Sending Photographs or video clips (25%)

–          Uploading photographs or video clips (6%)

–          Browsing the internet (11%)

–          Reading emails (6%)

–          Personal Navigation (3%)

Here not only are the figures striking (only 6% of the adult population read an email on their phone in the last three months!), but it’s interesting to notice what is missing – Social networking, Apps, Games and so much more! It is a shame that we have no details of the figures for the same dimensions this year – now that would have been interesting!

If you would like to take a look through the reports they are open to everyone, take a look! They make for very interesting reading!

2 responses to “Who Doesn’t Use the Internet?”

  1. Francine Pickering says:

    A read a short snippet in the FT on Saturday to the effect that 40%+ of businesses don’t have a web site – another one that’s quite hard to credit. A couldn’t find any trace of the original source of the statistic though – be nice to track it down.

  2. John says:

    I can fully understand that 40%+ of businesses don’t have a website after my experience with trying to get our office on-line.

    I have been quoted for putting a line capable of carrying a broadband connection at £85 connection, as well as extra charges if needed following a site survey.

    I was sent the modem foc, and then BT told me that the extra charges would be £26,806, something that my business cannot afford just to get on the internet. My order has been cancelled.

    Fortunately I do have broadband at home and can therefore run my website from there, without the extortionate extra charges.

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