Changing on-line habits
The internet has become pervasive in the past few years moving from the domain of the technically literate to where more than 70 per cent of us regularly connect either at home, work, on the phone, PDAs or from public locations such as internet cafes.
The growth of the internet as a means of communication has meant family and friends can keep in touch with very little effort regardless of where they are around the country or the globe. It has really given credence to the concept of a global village and in the workplace enabled a new generation of those who can work from home.
InternetNZ estimates there are about 150 ISPs in New Zealand but the 50 or so medium to large players have about 70 per cent of the customers with Telecom making up just under 50 per cent of the total business. The remaining 100 or so ISPs are mainly regional or special interest groups.
In the process of discovering the internet our habits have changed – for young people email and web access is increasingly seen as essential for their social communications, finding out information about what’s on and buying items like CDs.
According to Tessa Court senior vice president of global sales and marketing for Hitwise, local websites are in greater demand, up 6 per cent on last year with 29 per cent of all visits to the net directed at locally produced sites.
Thursdays and Saturdays the most popular online days although current data suggest web use is becoming similar across all days. The average time spent online by New Zealand internet users has increased over the past 12 months to about 8 minutes, or 23 seconds more than September last year.
She says Kiwi surfers, based on data over the past two years, continue to reflect our interests in the offline world and are often driven by world events and what is happening in the mainstream media.
There’s a growing interest in central and local government and city council web sites which are using the internet more to increase community awareness, tap into initiatives and market themselves much like private businesses.
During September 2003, the most popular websites were Hotmail, Xtra MSN, Google NZ, ICQ and Yahoo suggesting the main reason for surfing is to communicate, use portals and navigate the web. News related websites such asThe New Zealand Herald ( www.nzherald.co.nz ), INLs Stuff ( www.stuff.co.nz ) and nzoom ( www.nzoom.com ) rank highly.
In October Hitwise reported that New Zealand’s internet habits were become more cultured with a growing number of people visiting entertainment and performing arts sites.
Sites rating highly includedThe Royal New Zealand Ballet ( www.nzballet.org.nz) Australian Idol ( www.au.australianidol.yahoo.com ) entertainment news site NZShowbusiness ( www.nzshowbusiness.com ) and New Zealand Opera ( www.nzopera.com ).
However rugby union related websites also went through the wall during the World Cup with a 440 per cent increase in visits to related sites. New Zealand internet users viewed approximately 97 different rugby union websites, 47 of which were New Zealand based. Almost 71per cent of visitors to these websites went directly to the top three Rugby Union websites.One World Cup ( www.oneworldcup.nzoom.com ), 32.8%, New Zealand All Blacks ( http://allblacks.xtra.co.nz/home ) 25.4 per cent and Rugby World Cup 2003 International ( www.rugbyworldcup.com )12.71per cent.
The most popular categories visited by New Zealanders:
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