Tech Nation – Ireland's Love Of Smart Devices At All Time High

Research Suggests strong retail Christmas ahead, tablet ownership to top 2m and SmartTVs to reach 500,000.

  • Older generations are increasingly active online
  • Those under 35 years and parents crave connectivity
  • Rise of the 'Noodie' – someone interested in food and nutrition - accessing food ideas  online giving Ireland's food lovers a healthier outlook on what to eat and drink
  • We're becoming a nation of online doctors - 25% seek medical advice from the internet
  • Research reveals 1 in 5 adults admit to accessing the Internet every waking hour of the day
  • Technology increasingly intruding on Ireland's work-life balance as 59% of the working population admit to bring their work home
  • Clothes vying for top spot with online shoppers

Tuesday, 10th November 2015: We have become a nation that loves our smart, connected devices and are heavily reliant on technology for nearly every aspect of our lives, so says the latest eir Connected Living Survey1.

We are more than ever a nation of smartphone lovers with 70% of the population, which equates to 2.377m users, now using smartphones as their main mobile phone. This is up from just 39% in 2012. The use of tablets such as iPads is also growing with almost half (49%) saying they have regular access to one, up from just 10% in 2012, with another 15% of those who don't have one saying that they are likely to get one by the end of the year, demonstrating that there is potential for the number of tablets amongst Irish adults to top two million by the end of 2015.

21% of households have access to a Smart TV2, up from 14% this time last year, with 12% of those who don't have one saying they are likely to get one this year thus potential for almost 500,000 households to have access by the end of the year. However, the jury is still out on the demand for wearable technologies such as fitness tracking devices with just 20% of all adults interested in buying such devices.

The eir Connected Living Survey is a nationwide survey undertaken by eir to understand the usage and impact of technology in Irish homes. As Ireland's largest telecommunications provider, the eir Connected Living Survey records the social changes experienced in Ireland as a result of technology and innovation. The annual survey, taken across 1,013 Irish households nationwide, is conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes.

Internet Hungry
The eir Connected Living survey also reports that over 75% of the population say that they use the internet at least once a day, this is up 6% in the past year. Nearly one in five (18%) admit to accessing the internet practically every waking hour of the day, rising to 41% amongst 16 to 24 year olds.

Managing personal emails tops the list of usage at 66%, watching  YouTube comes in second at 59% while just half (50%) are using their home internet for online banking.  Watching On-Demand services, such as Netflix and LoveFilm, have seen a considerable growth in usage, up from 20% a year ago to 30% in the latest research.

Older generations are also jumping on the technology bandwagon and are increasingly active online. 45% of those over the age of 50 are online daily; this is up 9% from a year ago. Laptop usage amongst the over 50s remains static at 53% but smartphone usage amongst this cohort jumps 6% to 39%; Smart TV usage amongst the older age demographic has also doubled to 14% in the past year and use of iPads and other tablets has grown by a third to 32%.

Craving Connectivity
Those under 35 years and parents feel the need for speed and better broadband in general. Some 4 in 5 parents of 5-17 year olds said that broadband is helping their children with their homework and, 61% of all decision makers with broadband in their household said that broadband allows everyone in the household to use the internet simultaneously.

"The findings really highlight how, as a society, we have an insatiable desire to be connected," commented Lisa Comerford, Director Brand and Communications eir consumer. "Whether it's keeping on top of work emails in the evening, helping children with their homework,looking up the best recipes, or planning a night out; access to the internet and a love of devices play an increasingly central role inour lives. The trends over the past couple of years only point to one thing; demand for greater and better connectivity is only going to increase.”

People are recognising other benefits of better connectivity with 52% of those surveyed saying they would be interested in using products that enable remote monitoring of health of relatives and family members, this rises to 64% in under 50s. 60% would be interested in using remote security monitoring products while 44% said they would be interested in remote appliance usage. 

Rise of the 'Noodie'
Gaining access to the internet is increasingly being cited as a positive addition to peoples lifestyles with  43% saying having access to food ideas and information online has given them a healthier outlook on what to eat and drink. The under 35yr old age category are particularly engaged when it comes to using the internet for food and a healthier diet with 63% saying that this access has enhanced their knowledge of healthy foodies indicating a potential rise in ‘Noodies' (nutrition foodies). 35% said it has encouraged them to cook more. 46% said that online access has enhanced their knowledge of healthy food available to them.

Greater use of the ‘health-highway' as internet is first port of call for a quarter of households
We are also becoming a nation of online doctors with 25% saying the internet is usually their first port of call when seeking medical advice. One in five has unnecessarily worried about their health after reading something online. However, only 7% would be willing to order pharmaceuticals online.

A need to ‘power down' becoming evident
Work delineation is blurring and a need to ‘Power Down' is becoming evident. Some 59% of the working population now do some form of work at home, either checking work emails or bringing work home. One in four says that they often catch up with work in the evening or at the weekend. The survey also showed that 15% of the working population now run a business from home.

Clothes vying for top spot with online shoppers
Clothes (69%) are now vying with flights (70%) and hotels (66%) to be the top online shopping category with those in Dublin more active versus other urban and rural areas. 57% of the population say they shop online equally divided between male and female, this rises to 77% for those aged 25-34. Half of online purchasers are worried about fake online reviews as they read and rely on good quality reviews before booking or buying online.

Social Media remains a firm favourite with 16-24 yr olds
Not surprisingly the 16-24yr age group are super users of social media (94%) and OTT services3 (93%) with Facebook being the most popular social media platform (92%). Twitter usage at 36% remains static but use of other social media services has increased i.e.

  • Snapchat - 67%
  • Instagram - 58%
  • Spotify - 39%
  • Pinterest - 23%

Other areas covered in the eir Connected Living Survey included data privacy where people are increasingly concerned about the amount of their personal data held online (62%). The fear of seeing something shared on social media that they did not want shared is a worry for 50% of people living outside of the Dublin area.

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