About 63.5 per cent of households in Bulgaria had internet access at home in 2016, an increase of 4.4 percentage points over 2015, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said in a December 12 report on an annual survey.
The NSI said that 62.8 per cent of Bulgarian households had a fast and reliable broadband connection, which included fixed wired connection and internet connection through the mobile phone network.
Of those who did not have home internet access, close to half said that the reason was lack of skills to work with the internet, 42.5 per cent said that they saw no need for it, and 32.1 per cent said that the equipment was too expensive.
In 2016, 58.1 per cent of Bulgarians aged between 16 and 74 years used the internet every day or at least once a week.
There is a stable trend of growth in regular internet usage by individuals and in comparison to the previous year, an increase of 3.5 percentage points was registered, the NSI said.
The most active web users were those aged between 16 and 24 years, as 87.2 per cent of them use the internet every day or at least once a week.
Among older people, the desire and need to be online was decreasing, and only 12.9 per cent of individuals aged between 65 and 74 years surf regularly, the NSI said.
Males were more active in regular internet usage in comparison to females – respectively 58.5 per cent and 57.8 per cent, the survey found.
There were significant differences in regular use of the internet by education – while 86.6 per cent of those with tertiary education regularly used the global network, only 28.5 per cent of individuals with basic or lower education benefited from the opportunities that it provides.
Employment situation also affected how much people used the internet, the NSI said. It was most often used by students (not in the labour force), 95.3 per cent of them surf regularly, and among employees and self-employed persons the relative share was 74.9 per cent.
Almost half of the unemployed also regularly benefited from the opportunities provided by the internet (44.4 per cent).
The most preferred device to access the internet at home was the mobile phone, used by 70.4 per cent1 of active internet users. In addition to the traditional devices such as a desktop computer, laptop and tablet, some users chose more interesting device like smart TV, which was used as a device for internet access by 6.2 per cent of Bulgarians, the NSI said.
Individuals who use the internet regularly away from home also preferred the mobile phone as device for access (69.1 per cent), and 30.4 per cent of them used a laptop or a tablet computer.
Regular internet users used the network mostly for communication. About 95.3 per cent of them carried out phone or video calls, participated in social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Google+) or sent/received e-mails.
About 81.4 per cent of Bulgarians used the internet to access information, read online newspapers, news, magazines or find information about goods or services.
They were followed by individuals who used the internet for entertainment (listening to online music, playing games, watching internet streamed TV, video on demand, etc.) – 63.6 per cent.
People that used the internet for “creativity purposes”, as the NSI put it, (uploading self-created content, creating websites or blogs) had the lowest relative share – 35.6 per cent.
The NSI survey found that 23.5 per cent of regular internet users used storage space on the internet to store documents, photos, music, videos or other files.
A quarter of males and 22.1 per cent of females used cloud services. The most active users of these services were people aged 16 -24 years (35.1 per cent), followed by those aged 25 – 34 years (29.7 per cent). Only 6.9 per cent of the individuals aged 65 and over used storage space on the internet.
In 2016, the share of individuals who bought or ordered goods or services for private use over the internet reached 16.6 per cent, the NSI said.
Most active in online shopping were individuals aged 16 – 24 years and 25 – 34 years with relative shares, respectively, of 31.1 per cent and 29.9 per cent, and only 1.3 per cent of individuals aged 65 – 74 years purchased online.
Women were more active in online shopping than men – respectively 17.1 per cent and 16.1 per cent.
Most often individuals purchased clothes and sport goods online, as 77.2 per cent of internet buyers purchased such goods, followed by orders of household goods (24.2 per cent) and orders related to travel arrangements and accommodation (23.4 per cent).
Most goods and services were bought from sellers from Bulgaria (87.4 per cent), but a lot of people purchased from sellers from other European countries (41.4 per cent) or from other countries outside the EU – 18.7 per cent.
In the last three months before the survey, most of the individuals purchased goods or services once or twice (42.9 per cent) and the total amount of purchases was less than 200 leva.
Only 12.4 per cent of individuals who shopped online, bought or ordered goods or services by clicking through an advertisement on a social media website, and women were more impulsive than men, the NSI said, with relative shares respectively, of 13.9 per cent and 10.8 per cent.
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