January 18, 2010

Web Usage Dips in 2009: Tied to Unemployment

How much time are you spending online?

How much time are you spending online?

There was a very interesting study released by Harris Interactive showing that web users are online an average of 13 hours per week. This is a slight dip from the same observed period in 2008 where they saw average users online for 14 hours per week. The major change? In 2008, 43% of users were online at work. In 2009, that dipped to 40%.

Harris tracks use at home, at work and at what they list as “other location.” Online at Home and Online at Work have both seen Year-Over-Year growth since the study began in 1995, with this being the first year they have seen a dip for the Online at Work category. A simple explanation may be that there are fewer people at work this year then there were last year.

Beyond that, the study is a very interesting look at the growth within the last two years in the amount of time users spend online. In 2006, that number was 9 hours. 2007 saw 11 hours. 2008 and 2009 saw an average of 13.5 hours spent online per week. Even more interesting is the fact that this time does not include time spent on email.

Another interesting takeaway from the study is subject audience itself. Harris Poll culled this data from 2,029 men and women aged 18 and over through phone surveys. It would be very interesting to know if these were randomly selected phone numbers, since landline use across the globe has been dramatically decreasing. Nielsen reported in September 2008 that nearly 20% of all households in the US do not even have a landline, effectively removing them from Harris Poll’s eligible subject group. This group also scores high for broadband web use, pointing to a population of web users that have been potentially ignored by the Harris Polls study.

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