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Email Still the Killer App For Internet Users

Sending and receiving e-mail was the dominant online activity in 12 countries over the past six months, said the Nielsen//NetRatings First Quarter 2002 Global Internet Trends report. The report also found that at least 75 percent of households with Internet access participated in email.

"Of all the popular Internet applications, email is the global activity of choice," said Peter Steyn, director of the research firm. "We found that an impressive 90 percent of the adults in three major markets - Australia, the UK and the Netherlands - used email over the past six months, though the percentages were high for all 12 countries. In Hong Kong, 84 percent of those aged 16 and above have used e-mail".

"However, involvement in chat rooms was lower than 30 percent in all countries except Brazil, where 41 percent of adult Internet users used chat rooms, and in Spain where 38 percent used chat rooms. In Hong Kong, 28 percent of adults have participated in chat rooms.

Additionally, looking at audio-visual content and using Internet radio were well below 50 percent in all countries, and instant messaging has less than 30 percent penetration in several countries, including Hong Kong, France, Germany and Italy", said Steyn.

"The key to email's popularity is two-fold: it is a cost-effective way to communicate across great distances, and it does not require the same high connection speeds as some of the other applications.

In most countries, a 56k modem or slower modem is the most popular tool to access the Internet. However, in Hong Kong, an astonishing 58 percent of those who responded and have Internet access use either a cable modem or high-speed telephone connection to access the Internet. Not surprisingly, their rates for using Internet radio and looking at audio-visual content were among the highest worldwide" Steyn added. (See Table)

Globally, the number of people with access to the Internet via a home PC increased from 498.2 million people in Q4 2001 to 531.3 million in Q1 2002.

Table: Internet Activities Over The Past 6 Months: % Of People Aged 16+
CountriesSent/Received EmailsParticpated In ChatroomsUsed Instant MessagingLooked At Audio-Visual ContentUsed Radio Via The Internet
United Kingdom9016354121
Hong Kong8428263438
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings