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Australia enjoys easier access to the web through wireless broadband
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in April 2011 reveal that the number of internet subscribers in Australia has climbed to 10.4 million – a 10 per cent increase on the previous six months (as at December 2010).
Those figures are broken down to 2.3 million government and business subscribers (up 26%) and 8.1 million household subscribers (up 6%) – driven mainly by an uptake in wireless broadband which increased by 22.5% to December 2010.
The most interesting data on internet usage in Australia comes from the surge in popularity in social media – not just as a means of social interaction but as a means of evaluating products and services. There has been enormous growth in the number of Australians contributing to and relying on online reviews, discussions, comments and ‘Likes’ before making a purchase.
Social Media dominates how Australians use the internet in 2010/11
Social Media growth in Australia has continued to take the headlines, with Facebook leading the way. The social media kingpin announced last August that it had 9.5 million subscribers in Australia and according to Stat Counter that accounts for about 65% of internet social media use in Australia.
Somewhat surprisingly, StumbleUpon is the second most used Social Media website in Australia in the last 12 months with Stat Counter figures putting usage amongst Australian internet users at 12% – that’s almost as much as YouTube and Twitter combined. Those figures reflect a general global trend but StumbleUpon doesn’t enjoy the same level of success outside of North America and Oceania.
Stat Counter also produces some pretty interesting stats on search engines. While Google still maintains an almost monopolistic global dominance of 90% market share, figures from the US show Yahoo and Bing are playing catch up with around 9% and 8% market share in comparison to Google’s 80%.
In Australia, Google is even more dominant than globally – accounting for almost 95% of the market. Bing is second with roughly 3.5%, while Yahoo 7 pulls in just shy of 1.5% market share. This reliance on Google puts extra significance on Google’s +1 button. Read our article on that here: What Does Google’s Plus 1 Mean For Australian Business?
More Australians are using social media to critique brands, products and services
According to a March 2011 press release from Nielsen, Aussies continue to lead the way in social media usage. As a percentage of online Australian internet use in the last 12 months:
73% read reviews, discussions and comments on brands, products and services at some stage. 26% do so on a regular basis.
46% have clicked the Facebook Like button for a brand/organisation. 17% do so regularly.
43% discussed or commented on a product, service or brand. 13% regularly do so.
42% have interacted with a company through social network sites and 15% do on a regular basis.
33% posted reviews on products or services, with 7% doing so regularly.
Interestingly, amongst Australian’s using the internet 59% have watched a brand-product related video online and 30% have listened to an online review of a brand, product or service.
On the whole, social media is identified as “a revolution for online Australians” by Nielsen. Social media, it says, provides more customer touch points, more methods of content and communication distribution and more information about consumer preferences.
Increased use of mobile technology will lead to increased internet access
Nielsen also reports that 50% of Australians using the internet access the web through mobile devices, with 35% using smart phones. Tablets, such as the iPad account for 8% and ownership of these devices is expected to treble before the end of 2011.
This ‘always on,always available’ style of internet usage presents a huge opportunity for businesses willing to capitalise and use the internet as a sales channel and it lends further support to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) predictions that online advertising will outgrow TV 4:1 between now and 2014, and print by virtually 7:1.
This huge surge in social media in Australia and the increased use of the internet as a source of product recommendations and endorsements places an onus on Australian businesses to compete online and engage in social media optimisation. If you would like help with social media optimisation and getting the best return from your online investment, contact us at roi.com.au – we put your business first.