Although it is often assumed people are hooked on social media, new research shows people spend as much time online paying bills or researching a product as they do using sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The research, conducted on behalf of Belong to coincide with the launch of its new broadband service on the NBN, reveals Australians are using the internet for more practical activities. Two thirds of the survey respondents are heading online to find answers to daily tasks and key life issues, with over one in ten conducting almost all of their information searches and purchases online.
Around 90% of respondents would likely be lost without the internet; the majority rely on it for directions and nearly 60% look for places to take a date. Almost a third check health symptoms online and 80% head there first for cooking advice.
With the reliance on the internet, more than one in three are thinking about switching providers over the next two years to get the best deal for their needs. But apathy is stopping many Aussies getting the best plan, with Aussies claiming 'they can't be bothered' as the top reason they don't switch, followed by being stuck in a contract and confusing price plans. Belong aims to simplify the whole process, cutting through the confusion to offer straightforward packages that are easy to purchase and install.
Commenting, Nicholas Demos, General Manager of Belong, says: -Australians are looking for simplicity and ease in the way they conduct their day-to-day lives, seeking fast and straightforward solutions. Whereas years ago people may have had to visit the local high street to buy a gift or dig out a recipe book to cater a dinner party, our research shows Australians are solving daily tasks instantly by logging on.'
-Nearly one out of two Australians questioned would be put off entering a broadband plan because it has a long contract - a proportion we expect to rise as consumers increasingly seek flexibility. All Belong services, including the new offering on the NBN, are month by month with no long term lock-in contracts so our customers have freedom.'
Belong is a new and flexible way to get broadband in Australia, one so ideal that it doesn't need to lock people in to a long term contract; people belong because they want to. It provides simple, month-by-month home broadband with 24/7 customer service and no hidden costs.
Question: Why did Belong decide to run this survey?
Nicholas Demos: We know Australians rely on the internet so we wanted to dig a little deeper to better understand how the nation is using it. We are also celebrating the launch of our new home broadband offerings for homes on the NBN.
Question: Can you tell us a little bit about the results from the survey?
Nicholas Demos: We found Australians spend as much time online trying to solve life issues, for example paying bills or researching something they want to buy, as they do using social media. It is often assumed we spend all our time on sites such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter but we are much more practical than that!
There is also a proportion of the country who use the internet for everything; over one in ten conduct almost all of their information searches and purchases online.
Here are some of the interesting stats:Around 90% of Australians rely on the internet for directions
80% go online first for cooking advice
60% look for the best places to take a date
Almost a third check health symptoms on the web
Question: Do you go online to solve your own practical life issues?
Nicholas Demos: I do, but it wasn't until I saw the survey results that I realised how much I use it. I never go anywhere before checking the weather and getting directions online. I also check restaurant reviews before I decide on the best place to eat and check the traffic before I drive anywhere... the list goes on.
One of the most convenient things is being able to check-in online instead of lining up at the airport, it saves a huge amount of time queuing.
Question: Where you surprised that two thirds of Australians are going online to solve practical life issues?
Nicholas Demos: While the number of Australians turning to the internet to solve practical life issues is huge, I'm surprised it's not even larger. Australians are clearly looking for simplicity and ease when it comes to their day-to-day lives and online solutions are often the most convenient. Years ago people may have had to visit the local high street to buy a last minute gift or dig out a recipe book to cater a dinner party but now they want these tasks solved instantly and are logging on to do it.
Question: How many minutes a day, do you spend on social media?
Nicholas Demos: I think, about average... maybe 30 minutes to an hour. I check LinkedIn daily and like to keep up-to-date with my friends/family and look at their holiday snaps on Facebook. Social media is a big part of what we do at Belong so we spend a lot of time creating fun content, which I love.
Question: What sites do you frequent most on the internet?
Nicholas Demos: Apart from logging on to check social media I mostly head to news sites in the morning and evening, plus checking the weather and sports.
Question: What are the top five signs that we aren't addicted to social media?
Nicholas Demos: Interesting question, I'd say:
1. You think it's strange when people use the phrase "hashtag" in face-to-face conversations
2. You can go an entire meal without Instagraming your food
3. When you arrive at a party you actually greet your friends, rather than tweeting "Hi guys!" at their Twitter handles
4. You chat to your friends about your holiday rather than expecting them to see your amazing photos on Facebook
5. You don't have a Facebook page for your pet
Question: Most importantly, how can we not be baffled by confusing broadband plans?
Nicholas Demos: There are a lot of providers and plans out there. That's why we started Belong - to offer straightforward plans for people who love simplicity.
My advice is, do your research and work out whether your internet usage is low, medium or high by asking questions such as:
How many of us are there in the house?
Do we stream a lot of films and music, does anyone always stream in HD?
Do we work from home?
Our new packages on the NBN come in two sizes to keep it easy, Regular and Large - that's 100GB and 500GB worth of data allowance respectively. With the regular package you could download over 40 HD movies, and with the large, over 200 HD movies. The Large is a lot of data and best for larger families or shared houses where data usage is high.
Question: How does Belong differ from other providers?
Nicholas Demos: Nearly one out of two Australians questioned would be put off entering a broadband plan because it has a long contract - a proportion we expect to rise as consumers increasingly seek flexibility. All Belong services, including the new offering on the NBN, are month by month with no long-term lock-in contracts so our customers have freedom.
Just head to www.belong.com.au and see if your home is covered by typing it into the address checker on the homepage.
Interview by Brooke Hunter