The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has released the latest results from the Information Technology (IT) Household Survey 1999. Key findings from the survey show that Singapore is relatively ahead of the countries such as the United States, Australia, and Japan in terms of household PC...Singapore, 20 January 2000 | For Immediate Release
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has released the latest results from the Information Technology (IT) Household Survey 1999 (193.63KB). Key findings from the survey show that Singapore is relatively ahead of the countries such as the United States, Australia, and Japan in terms of household PC and Internet penetration. The 1999 survey shows that 59% of households in Singapore owned at least one computer compared to 41% in 1997. Home Internet penetration also increased from 9% in 1996 to 42% in 1999.
The 1999 survey aims to gauge the level of IT penetration in the Singapore households, assess the sophistication and extent of IT usage, and identify the barriers and motivations towards on-line IT usage. A total of 2,000 Singapore homes were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. The house listings were drawn from a sampling frame provided by the Department of Statistics (DOS). This is the fourth IT Household survey conducted, with the earlier surveys carried out in 1990, 1993, and 1996.
Highlight of Findings PC Ownership
Computer ownership rates in Singapore households have experienced rapid increase in the past three years, reaching 59% in 1999 from 41% in 19971 1997/98 Household Expenditure Survey (HES), conducted by the Department of Statistics (DOS) and 36% in 19962 NCB IT Household Survey 1996. This rapid increase can be attributed to the government efforts in promoting computer usage among the general public as well as the emphasis on IT usage in the school curriculum due to the implementation of the IT Masterplan in education.
In comparison with other countries, Singapore has a relatively high ownership of home computers. In 1999, the home computer ownership rate was 42% in Japan3 Nomura Research Institute, May 1999, 47% in Australia4 Australian Bureau of Statistics, May 1999 and 54% in the US5 Arbitron New Media. 1999.
More specifically, in terms of the home computer ownership rates in Singapore, the computer ownership in public housing has increased significantly over the last 3 years. This figure has risen to 55%, up from 31% in 1996. The rate of growth for public housing exceeds that in private housing. This is an encouraging sign although the overall computer ownership is relatively higher in private housing (78%).
In terms of the users' profile, the survey found that 80% of the households with personal computers (PCs) have multiple users. The typical home computer user is male (55%), below 30 years old (59%), and has tertiary education (53%). The computers were mainly used for email (87%), playing games (56%), and for information retrieval on hobbies (35%).
Home Internet access has also grown rapidly since the availability of public access in 1994. In 1996, only 9% of Singapore household had Internet access. Today, more than 42% of households have Internet access. The estimated total number of home Internet users is 764,680, a significant increase from 114,368 in 1996.
The rapid increase can be attributed to a variety of factors, including competitive Internet subscription fees offered by the local Internet Access Service Providers (IASPs), free accounts given by schools or low/subsidised subscription rates, and a high rate of home computer ownership.
A comparison with other countries shows that Singapore has relatively high home Internet access penetration rates. In Australia2, 22% of households have Internet access, while in Japan4 the penetration stands at 13%. In the US Infobeads, June 1999 & Green field Online Inc, Oct 1999 , 40% of the households have home Internet access.
Home users with Internet access used the Internet most frequently for email/chat (87%), information retrieval (70%), news (25%), web applications (20%), and on-line gaming/watching movies (17%).
Use of the Internet for e-commerce activities such as on-line shopping and on-line government transactions is still at the early adoption stage. On-line shopping attracted 8% of home Internet users. The most popular items bought are books and stationery, and the most popular payment mechanism is via credit card. The survey also revealed that 14% of the home Internet users have used the Internet to access on-line government transactions. The most common transaction is the submission of Income Tax Returns, followed by requests for CPF statements.
Barriers and Motivations
Similar to previous surveys conducted, the main reason given by households for not owning a computer is that they do not see the need to do so. This is the same reason offered by those without home Internet access.
Households without Internet access have cited three motivations that would attract them to subscribe for Internet access services. They are, cheaper subscription/access fees (44%), when the need to surf for information arises (25%), and when their children need to use the Internet (24%).
Level of Sophistication
The survey findings indicate that the necessary foundation is in place for Singapore to realise the vision of an information society. More homes own computers now and more people are accessing the Internet for products and services. The idea of shopping on-line or using the Internet for other services is beginning to catch on amongst homes. This has significant implications for the development of e-commerce in Singapore.
1 1997/98 Household Expenditure Survey (HES), conducted by the Department of Statistics
2 NCB IT Household Survey 1996
3 Nomura Research Institute, May 1999
4 Australian Bureau of Statistics, May 1999
5 Arbitron New Media. 1999
INFOCOMM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE
About Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) is a dynamic organisation with an integrated perspective to developing, promoting and regulating info-communications in Singapore. In the fast-changing and converging spheres of telecommunications, information and media technologies, IDA will be the catalyst for change and growth in Singapore's evolution into a vibrant global info-communications technology centre. For more information, please visit www.imda.gov.sg.
For media clarification, please contact:
Ms Dulcie Chan
Manager, Corporate Communication
Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore
Tel: (65) 6322 1999
Fax: (65) 6779 5340