The latest Report on the Internet Economy, published by GKIeNET, T-Home and T-Mobile in April 2009, reveals that more than half of the population in Hungary can be considered digitally literate. However, the level of internet intensity subsides outside the boundaries of Central Hungary, except for the subregions of Debrecen, Szeged and Siófok. Based on community-level data, Szentendre is the most internet intensive town in Hungary.
A nationally representative survey of 2,500 people conducted by GKIeNET in late 2008 indicates that the digital literacy rate of the adult population was 52% in 2008, which means that more than half of the adult population in Hungary has computer skills. In the population of 18 years and above, 40% indicated that they were frequent internet users (using the internet at least once a week), while another 14% said they were computer users. A comparison of the rising percentage of internet users and declining percentage of people who use the computer but not the internet reveals that the category of internet users has drawn additional members not only from the group of computer literates but presumably also from the previously digitally illiterate population.
Economic and social competitiveness are fundamentally determined by the rate and depth at which employees are able to use information-communication tools. In the countries of the European Union, on average, half of the employees use computers for work on a daily basis. Finland topped the list in 2007 with 70%, while Romania and Bulgaria were lagging behind, with 20% and 25%, respectively. Hungary was in a less favorable position than other countries of the region: as few as 35% of all employees took advantage of PCs for everyday work tasks.
Trends in Internet use
One-fourth of the internet users in Hungary are considered new users, having taken up the habit over the past two years, while the majority (42%) has been using the internet for 3-5 years. 10% of all internet users can be associated with the advent of ADSL approximately 6-7 years ago. One-fifth of the current users became internet fans as early as in the dial-up era: they are likely to be the most experienced users and also the ones most open to technological innovations. There is no substantial difference between men and women in terms of the number of years they have been using the internet: On average, the history of internet use goes back to 5.1 years among men and 4.6 years among women. Age does not seem to be a major factor, either: internet users under the age of 50 have a history of 4.9 years on average, compared with 4.4 years in the category of people over 50.
The level of education seems to be a more decisive factor. People with college or advanced degrees have used the internet for six years on average, people with high school diplomas have had an average of 4.6 years of internet experience, while those with some secondary education have used the internet for 3.7 years on average. Those with only the eight years of elementary school education show an average of 5.1 years of internet use, which is remarkably high, due to the fact that in this group more than half of the internet users (53%) are young people with a keen interest in technology (between the ages of 18 and 29), and 29% are under 20, presumably before their high school graduation.
Intensity of Computer use
One-third (34%) of computer usersover the age of eighteen in Hungary use PCs for recreational purposes, for a maximum of one hour a day. A similar percentage (35%) of the adult population sits 2-4 hours in front of the computer every day, while another almost one-third (31%) spends more than four hours a day on the computer.
The average length of computer use in the group of computer users is 3.8 hours a day. Computer use at work is the most prevalent category: economically active people spend an average of 4.8 hours a day on the computer at work, while home computer use averages 2 hours per day.
Young adults aged 18 to 29 are the most avid computer users, with a daily average time of 4.6 hours, followed by the group of people between 30 and 59, who spend an average of 3.4-3.8 hours in front of the computer every day. Computer users over sixty spend an hour less on the computer, some 2.8 hours on a daily average. Students and the economically active population spend the most time in front of the monitor, 4.2 and 4.6 hours a day, respectively. The difference between these two groups is insignificant, while retired computer users spend substantially less time in front of the monitor, 1.7 hours per day on average. Computer time among computer users averages 4.1-4.2 hours a day in county seats as well as in the capital and 3.5 hours in towns and townships.
Intensity of Internet use
Four sets of data have been aggregated to determine internet intensity at the level of subregions: optical coverage of Hungarian communities (community coverage within subregions); the percentage of taxpayers filing taxes electronically (2007 tax filing, data prior to May 2008); the number of Vatera users per 100 households in a subregion; and the number of iWiW-Freemail users per 100 people in a subregion. Each of the four ratios were divided into deciles: each subregion was assigned to one of ten numbered groups of equal size. The lowest number (1) represents the lowest rate, while the highest number (10) represents the largest rate. The average of the four values yields a number between 0 and 10, representing the internet intensity of the subregion. The legend shows the number of subregions between the individual boundaries.
The most active subregions are located in the region of Central Hungary. The value tends to decline as we move away from the capital. The subregions of Debrecen, Szeged and Siófok are the only exceptions. Community-level data indicate that Szentendre is the most internet aware town in Hungary.
Figure 1. Intensity of Internet Use by Subregions
Source: GKIeNET – T-Home – T-Mobile, 2009
43% of internet users are recreational users spending less than one hour a day on the world wide web. One-third of the internet users spend 2-3 hours online daily, while one-fourth (24%) surf the web for over three hours every day.
Figure 2. Percentage of Computer and Internet Users and the Average Length of Use
(As a percentage of the adult population, of PC users, and of internet users)
Source: GKIeNET – T-Home – T-Mobile, 2009
The average length of internet use is 2.8 hours daily. Workplace is the most prevalent location of internet access: the economically active population surfs the web for 2.8 hours a day at work, compared with 1.9 hours at home. On average, students spend one and a half hours (1.6) online each day.
As seen in the case of computer use, age is a key factor when it comes to internet intensity, as well. The difference between the older and younger population in terms of internet time continues to be significant, but it is likely to decline in the long run. On average, people aged 18-29 spend 3.9 hours a day online. The average length of internet use does not show substantial variation among the age groups of 30-39, 40-49 and 50-59 (2.2 hours, 2.3 hours and 2.1 hours per day, respectively), while internet users over 60 spend 1.8 hours a day online.
On average, workers do online activities for 2.8 hours a day. Students spend 50% more time on the internet (4.2 hours per day on average), while retired people spend significantly less time online, 1.4 hours a day on average. The length of time spent on the internet averages 2.9-3.1 hours a day in the county seats and in the capital, and 2.6 hours in towns and townships.