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How many Brits don’t use the internet?

Old fashioned computer

How many Brits don’t use the internet?

A recent study carried out by the OII (Oxford Internet Institute) has determined how many UK residents are living in 2019 without using the internet at all.

Of the 2,000 people who responded, 18% said that they would describe themselves as a non-user of internet, amounting to almost one in five. The OII stated that these users tended to be older people, those who are not as well-educated and those who are poorer compared to regular internet users. The size of this category presents a ‘dilemma’ for governments and authorities trying to both reach and support them, according to the OII.

The research was headed by Dr. Grant Blank, who said that these people were not using the internet in any form, whether that be through a computer or a mobile device, highlighting that the older people are, the more likely they were to fall into the category of non-users.

The 18% figure of non-users is believed to be one of the highest in terms of official measurements of non-internet users because of the way the data was collected by the OII.

Figures from the ONS (Office of National Statistics) suggest that around 7.4% of the UK’s population are non-users, with this number being arrived at through data collected for the organisation’s Labour Force Survey. Dr. Blank has said that this survey primarily looked at people who were in employment, and excluded those who did not work as well as people who can’t work through long-term disabilities or those in care homes.

This contrasts to the OII research, which visited people in their homes, allowing the company to gather a more detailed portfolio of the online tendencies of British people.

Dr. Blank said that the vast majority of people are online before the age of 50, but after this, there is a sharp decline in users, measuring about 2% per year. This is pinpointed at these people finding less reasons to spend online as they age.

What else did the survey find?

The study also looked into reasons why people did not use the internet, and 10% said that they stayed away because of concerns they had over privacy. Of those that do not go online, 40% have an annual income under £12,500.

As well as this, 70% of all participants stated that they felt uncomfortable with the way their data was tracked and how targeted advertising works.

The study was sponsored by a number of firms, including Google and BT as well as the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Dr. Blank says that those who have been avoiding the internet would likely benefit by going online, as there is a wider range of information on the web that may be helpful.
Furthermore, governments and businesses are now increasingly moving towards digital. The government is moving more of its aid and support systems online which target the groups that have said they don’t use the internet, which is rather ironic.

The results of this study to prompt businesses and other organisations to consider who their target audience is and where they are most likely to be reached. With most people being online, it is crucial to have an online presence, but it may also be worth maintaining an offline presence too, should your audience require it.

Alan Littler

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