The .au Domain Administration’s (auDA) Digital Lives of Australians 2022 research report, released today, highlights that 98 per cent of Australians see the internet as a valuable asset in their everyday lives.
The research is informed by a survey of 1,500 Australian consumers and nearly 400 small businesses. It identifies opportunities to help Australians overcome digital challenges and better harness the benefits of the internet.
Key findings include:
- Value of the internet - Australians of all ages value the internet, with around one third of Australians in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland considering the internet invaluable, compared to a quarter of those living in Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory
- Digital skills - A shortfall in skilled staff will prevent small businesses from fully realising online opportunities. The skills small businesses will be looking for include website development, data visualisation and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Cyber security - Four out of five consumers are concerned about their personal data being stolen. Almost a third of small businesses consider online scams and the security of their business data to be a major concern. Despite this, many consumers and small businesses show low awareness of available cyber security tools and resources and more than half of small businesses spend less than $1,000 annually on cyber security
- Future of the internet - Australian consumers are cautiously optimistic about emerging digital technologies and around a third of small businesses report they are likely to use workplace automation (32 per cent), smart buildings (37 per cent), the metaverse (30 per cent) or blockchain (28 per cent) in the future.
auDA CEO, Rosemary Sinclair AM, said “auDA is pleased to deliver the second annual Digital Lives of Australians report, which provides fresh insights and robust data on how Australians consumers and small businesses continue to benefit from using the internet and areas of online concern to them.
“In producing these insights, auDA aims to generate discussion and encourage action within industry, business, government and educational sectors to support an uplift in the economic and social value delivered to Australians through the internet.”
This is the second Digital Lives of Australians research report undertaken by auDA as part of an ongoing longitudinal study.
You can find the Digital Lives of Australians 2022 report on the auDA website.
Note to media:
The research was undertaken on behalf of auDA by SEC Newgate Research. The research comprised:
- An online discussion forum with 24 consumers and 14 small business representatives
- In-depth interviews conducted individually with 12 consumers (six forum participants plus an additional six consumers identified as low confidence internet users) and eight small businesses
- A survey of 1,514 consumers (including a telephone survey of 150 low confidence internet users) and of 393 small businesses.
The research was undertaken between June and August 2022 and samples were weighted to reflect the Australian population.
A detailed methodology overview is provided in the report.
Key findings - summary
Value of the internet
• Four of five small businesses say they would struggle to operate without the internet
• Australians of all ages value the internet with younger Australians most likely to say the internet is invaluable and only three per cent of those aged 70 plus reporting they do not need the internet at all.
- A shortfall in skilled staff may lead to a digital skills gap that prevents small businesses from fully realising online opportunities. The skills small businesses will be looking for include website development, data visualisation and SEO
- Younger Australians and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds report an interest in upskilling and will help address the digital skills shortfall.
- Cyber security is a top concern for consumers and small businesses
- Four out of five consumers are concerned about their personal data being stolen and three quarters have concerns about their online privacy
- Almost a third of small businesses consider online scams (31 per cent) and the security of their business data (29 per cent) to be a major concern
- Despite this, many consumers and small businesses show low awareness of available cyber security tools and resources
- Only six per cent of consumers and 12 per cent of small businesses used government resources to educate themselves on online security in the three months prior to the survey
- In the same period, 17 per cent of consumers and 19 per cent of small businesses used search engines for cyber security help and advice
- Three quarters (74 per cent) of consumers surveyed agreed that cyber criminals are becoming smarter and more sophisticated, so it is important to stay up-to-date with the latest online security trends, and yet just over half (56 per cent) feel confident they have safeguards in place to keep their personal data secure online
- More than half of the small businesses surveyed spend less than $1,000 annually on cyber security, including 17 per cent which spend nothing at all. Only 13 per cent plan to increase their spending on cyber security in the coming year.
Future of the internet
- Australian consumers are cautiously optimisitic about emerging technologies. Two of five are positive about smart homes and automated healthcare. Only one in five are positive about the metaverse (21 per cent) and blockchain (19 per cent) technologies, noting concerns about cyber security and data privacy
- Around a third of small businesses report they are likely to use workplace automation (32 per cent), smart buildings (37 per cent), the metaverse (30 per cent) or blockchain (28 per cent) in the future.