26 November 2015

Singapore's IDA creates snapshot of home computer usage in Singapore for 2014

The Infocomm Development Authority's (IDA’s)  Annual Survey on Infocomm Usage in Households 2014 states that more seniors in Singapore are using smartphones, computers and the Internet. The survey showed that in 2014, about 74% of Singapore residents had used the computer in the three months before the survey, with the biggest jump for senior citizens aged 50 years and above.

Between 2012 and 2014, there was a significant increase of 14 and 11 percentage-points in computer usage by senior citizens aged 50 to 59 and above 60 respectively. This brought the total percentage of computer usage among senior citizens to 63% for those aged 50 to 59 years and 27% for those aged older.

In addition, the survey showed that Internet usage rate by senior citizens rose to 75% for those in their fifties, and 31% for those 60 and older, a gain of 24% and 15% compared to 2012 respectively. In fact, in 2014, more than three-quarters of the younger and one-third of the older senior citizen segments said they had used a smartphone to access the Internet in the past three months. This represented an increase of 30% and 19% percentage-points respectively against 2012.

Household Internet and broadband access also continued to increase in 2014, and households are increasingly using Internet-enabled mobile phones for Internet access. Home Internet and broadband access rates rose to 88% and 87.5% respectively in 2014. For households with school-going children, Internet and broadband access rates were 98% and 97% respectively in 2014. Fibre and wireless broadband (3G, 4G) continued to replace ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) and cable as the Internet connection of choice at home, with 62% of resident households using fibre broadband in 2014 (up from 25% in 2012), and 56% using wireless broadband in 2014 (38% in 2012).

Another trend is the rise of online shopping among Singapore residents. Online shoppers were mainly aged from 15 to 49 years, with credit card payment being the most common among those aged 25 and above. The majority of online shoppers spent at least S$100 on their online purchases. The three most popular items purchased online were apparel, travel products and tickets for entertainment events.

On the cyber security front, the survey found that more than eight in 10 installed antivirus software and security updates on computer used to access the Internet at home while adoption rates of antivirus software installation on smartphones were comparatively lower, at about three in 10.

The top three primary Internet activities among Singapore residents were related to communication, leisure activities and getting information, with the topmost online activity on mobile equipment being the use of social networks.

Steve Leonard, IDA’s Executive Deputy Chairman, commented, “We are encouraged to see residents becoming more tech-savvy and connected, particularly the silver generation. This is useful to help the industry explore new opportunities to serve our citizens better and help build Singapore into a Smart Nation.”

It should be noted that the different surveys are not precisely apples-to-apples as more Singapore residents born in recent years enter their fifties and are classed as seniors in each subsequent survey. Those born in 1963 and 1964 would not have been classed as senior citizens in 2012. Likewise, those born in 1961 and 1962 were not considered senior citizens until after 2010. It is possible that the results for the 50 to 59 year-old segment reflect technology-savviness in 50- and 51 year-olds, rather than seniors in general deciding to learn about smartphones and the Internet. The results for those aged 60 and above however remain significant.


Download the survey (PDF)
Download the complete infographic

Note: All images from the IDA infographic.

*The annual survey has been conducted for more than 20 years, and its objective is to assess the extent of infocomm adoption in Singapore resident households and residents. This latest survey’s data was collected from about 3,500 households and about 3,500 residents via face-to-face interviews.

1 A smartphone has more sophisticated functions than a feature phone. Examples of such functions are: i) able to open and read documents (e.g. PDFs, Office documents) and ii) able to add or install applications on the phone. These two categories are mutually exclusive, i.e. a mobile phone can only be categorised as a feature phone or a smartphone but not both.

2 Households with access to the Internet via both broadband and narrowband had been categorised as those with broadband Internet access. Some households had more than one type of broadband connection at home.

3 Mobile equipment is defined as portable equipment excluding laptops or notebooks.