One in eight New Zealanders now use the Internet regularly and about a third have Internet access, according to a new report.
AC Nielsen McNair, which added Internet questions to its long-running household readership survey at the beginning of 1996, says both access and usage figures have doubled in a year.
Its national usage figures for the first quarter of 1997 indicated that 13% of the population aged 10 and over had used the Internet in the last four weeks. At the same time in 1996 this figure was six per cent. Similarly, the survey showed that in Q1 1997, 32% of New Zealanders aged 10 or over had access to the Internet at some location as aginst 16% for the same time last year.
The new figures were released by Xtra, along with the results of the second McNair audit of its own Website, which show similar trends - a 61% increase in six months, from 542,240 user sessions in January this year to 870,411 in June
Xtra is touting the new figures as proof that the Internet - and its site - are now attractive new ground for advertisers and Xtra Advertising Manager John Wooding says the numbers mean "great news for businesses wanting to market innovatively.”
“World Wide Web advertising revenue is estimated at $US217 million for the six month period to 30 June 1997. For the same period in 1996 the amount was $61US million so the increase is over 250%. In the second quarter of this financial year web advertising was worth $US133.3 million, for the first quarter it was around $US84 million. This is an increase of well over 50%. Based on these figures web advertising is booming," Wooding says.
"Within the 'Net world these figures would not be unexpected but those outside of the Internet industry may be surprised by these results. The bottom line is that Internet growth is bringing ever-increasing potential markets to business. Advertisers should be looking carefully and quickly at the opportunities on offer."
Advertisers will still, however, study the new numbers carefully before leaping - especially in the case of the very raw figure of user sessions across Xtra's entire site - which could indicate no more than the fact that most of Xtra's 60,000 customers still have Xtra's home page set as the default in their Xtra-branded browsers.
Xtra remains, however, the only local Website to be independently audited, and Wooding says Xtra will continue its commitment to customer research and will and provide information on trends in Internet usage as part of its Xtra Business service.