World Internet Project New Zealand: The Internet in New Zealand 2015

Crothers, C
Smith, P
Urale, PWB
Bell, A
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Commissioned Report
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Institute of Culture, Discourse & Communication, Auckland University of Technology

Executive Summary

The fifth two-yearly survey of the World Internet Project New Zealand (WIPNZ) was conducted between September and November 2015, using both telephone and online platforms. The survey questionnaire has undergone substantial updating since the 2013 survey to keep pace with changing digital technologies and question changes agreed with our international partners, which in particular extended coverage of the areas of security and privacy. This report presents an analysis of the usage of and attitudes towards the internet of the resulting sample of 1377 New Zealanders.

Usage The sample divides into five usage categories: never-users (5% of sample), ex-users (3%), low level users (11%), first generation users (9%) and next generation users (71%). Most users in our survey (76%) regarded the internet as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ in their everyday life. The leading devices used to access the internet were laptop/netbooks (75%), mobile phones (74%) and desktop computers (70%). Over half of the users surveyed (59%) had accessed the internet through a tablet, up by 11% from 2013. Only 19% of users had a connection to ultra-fast/fibre broadband.

Activities Most internet users say they surf or browse the web (95%) or visit social networking sites (85%). Some 49% of users now report that they use the cloud, up 15% on 2013. Over half of our users (52%) have logged in to secure areas on Government or Council websites, and 55% have paid taxes, fines or licences online in the past year – steady increases since 2013. Other common internet behaviours continue to spread and increase across the population. For entertainment purposes, 81% surfed the web daily (up from 75% in 2013), and 66% visited social network sites daily (up from 59% in our last survey). Daily Instant Messaging is increasing apace, now 43% compared to 32% in 2013. In comparison, other internet activities are stabilizing in 2015 across the population. Commercial activities like online seeking of product information, buying, banking and paying bills are similar to 2013. Those checking email daily amount to 89%, identical to 2013, indicating that this behaviour is now close to saturation level. The main activities on social networking sites like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and LinkedIn, involve content creation such as the posting of messages or comments (82%) and the posting of pictures, photos or videos (73%).

Attitudes Nearly half of respondents (45%) agree that there is no such thing as privacy online, and they accept that situation. However, a majority (68%) are active in trying to protect their online privacy. Nearly three quarters (73%) have updated their internet security in the past year to protect their computer from viruses and malware. More respondents are concerned about companies checking on their personal online activity than about government checking. Comparing the importance of various forms of media as information sources, online information sources now rate very much higher than offline media. More than half of our respondents (56%) rate the internet very important, compared to 16% for television, 12% for radio, and 11% for newspapers.

Diversity and Divides Being a former user is directly related to economic factors. For people younger than 65, 14% of the under-$35K household income bracket are ex-users, and 4% of the $35-50K bracket, but there are no ex-users at all in households above $50K. Men aged 16-44 are slightly more likely to go on social network sites than women of the same age. For those under 45, more than 90% rate the internet important or very important as an information source.

Crothers, C., Smith, P., Urale, P. W. B., & Bell, A. (2016). The Internet in New Zealand 2015. Auckland, New Zealand: Institute of Culture, Discourse & Communication, Auckland University of Technology.
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© 2016. Institute of Culture, Discourse & Communication, Auckland University of Technology. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence. In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the work, as long as you attribute the work, the new works are non-commercial and you abide by the other licence terms.