Poll Shows Adults Now Spend 13 Hours/Week Online

Posted by at 9:26 pm on December 23, 2009

A new Harris Poll finds that adult Internet users are now spending an average of 13 hours a week online. Of course, people’s usage varies greatly; one in five (20%) of adult Internet users are online for only two hours or less a week while one in seven (14%) are spending 24 or more hours a week online.   These are a few of the results of a Harris Poll of 2,029 adults surveyed by telephone between July 7 and 12 and October 13 and 18, 2009 by Harris Interactive.

Over the years the average hours spent online have increased from 7 hours in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002, to between 8 and 9 hours in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. In 2007, it increased to 11 hours. Last year (in October after the financial crisis broke and before the presidential election) Internet users were online for 14 hours a week, double what it was from 1999 to 2002.

Other interesting findings in this Harris Poll include:

  • The age groups that spend the most time online are those aged 30-39 (18 hours) and those aged 25-29 (17 hours) and 40-49 (17 hours).
  • Half (50%) of all those online bought something on the Internet in the last month. This includes 62% of those aged 30-39 and 56% of those aged 40-49.The number of adults online, now 184 million (80%), has not changed significantly since 2008 and 2007. This includes those online at work, at home, at school or any other locations.
  • However, the number of adults who are online at home has increased to 76% this year, and 75% last year, compared to 70% in 2006, and 66% in 2005.

Harris notes that the increase in the number of hours spent online in the last two years compared to all previous years is striking. Harris speculates it probably reflects a growing ability to use the Internet, an increase in sites and applications, increased TV watching online and increased purchasing online. Also, hours online may have increased because of the recession. Going online is free; going out usually costs money.

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