via audiencematters

A TNS global survey entitled Digital
World, Digital Life, probing online behaviours and perspectives shows
that, on average, people across the 16 countries surveyed are spending
close to a third (30%) of their leisure time online.

It appears we like our 30% digital time regardless of how much free
time we have.

Digital World, Digital Life found that respondents with
up to 2 hours leisure time each week day, spent the same proportion of
their leisure time online as respondents who had between 7 and 8 hours
of leisure time on a week day.  This means there is no direct link
between the amount of leisure time we have and how much of it we spend
online.

What are the top 5 activities that people undertake while online?
TNS asked people to identify a range of activities in the month before
they took the survey.

A total of 81% had used a search engine to find
information; 76% had looked up the news; 74% had used online banking;
65% had looked up the weather; and 63% had researched a product or
service before buying it. These activities are all inherently very
practical.

The highest ranking classic leisure activity – “watching a
video clip” – only came in at number 8, with half (51%) saying they had
done this in the past month. Another leisure activity – “listening to
an audio clip” – came in at number 10 (44%).

Arno Hummerston, Managing Director, TNS Global Interactive, said:
“If our leisure time is so precious, then why do we on average spend
almost a third of it using the internet? We believe it is because we
are making more efficient use of our valuable time, specifically by
using the internet – thereby allowing us to fit more into our lives.
Being online helps people fulfil certain tasks and activities quickly
and efficiently. By spending productive time online, we are actually
making more time for leisure. With more social and entertainment
activities available online, it is also easy to understand why our
lives are becoming more digital.”

Who and where are the most avid onliners in the world? Younger
people under 25, as might be expected, are seriously engaged with
online life. The under 25s surveyed in the report say they spend well
over a third (36%) of their time online. On average, Chinese
respondents under 25 spend half (50%) of their leisure time online.

If the world is to take its lead from Japan and Korea – countries
that are seen as being innovative and pioneering in the online world –
then we can expect to spend even more time online. In those countries,
respondents say they currently spend on average around two-fifths of
their leisure time online.

There are particular groups of people that are more avid users of
the internet than others. For example, across the 16 countries
surveyed:

students spend 39% of their time online.

US Housewives spend 38% of
their leisure time online while in the UK, this was even more pronounced
with almost half (47%) of housewives spending their leisure
time online.This might be explained by the rapid expansion of online
food shopping, particularly in the UK where online shopping expenditure
in general now tops £1 billion per month (Source: Mintel 2008).

The Digital World, Digital Life survey also underlined that mobile
handsets are frequently used to connect to the internet.

Worldwide, 1
in 10 respondents surveyed say they connect to the internet once a day
via mobile handsets. But Asia’s adoption trends imply significant
growth prospects. Among the Japanese and Chinese respondents to the
survey, for example, over a quarter of people access the internet over
mobile connections at this once-a-day frequency.