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More senior citizens becoming tech-savvy: survey
AS Singapore races to become the world's first "smart nation", more senior citizens are becoming IT-savvy, accessing government services, information and social networks via the Internet.
The Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore's (IDA) Annual Survey on Infocomm Usage in Households 2014, which came out on Thursday, shows that the computer usage rate among senior citizens aged 50-59 and 60 and above rose to 63 per cent and 27 per cent respectively last year - an increase of 14 and 11 percentage points from 2012 respectively.
This annual survey has been conducted for more than 20 years, and its objective is to assess the extent of infocomm adoption in Singapore resident households and among residents. This latest survey's data was collected from about 3,500 households and about 3,500 residents via face-to-face interviews. Even though this is an annual survey, the report compares data with 2012 in order to show a three-year trend, an IDA spokeswoman said.
The rate of Internet usage by senior citizens aged 50-59 and 60 and above rose significantly to 75 per cent and 31 per cent respectively in 2014 - an increase of 24 and 15 percentage points from 2012 respectively.
The survey also showed that, last year, more than three-quarters of senior citizens aged 50-59 and one-third of those aged 60 and above used a smartphone to access the Internet in the previous three months.
This represented an increase of 30 and 19 percentage points for the two age groups respectively from 2012.
In 2014, 67 per cent and 31 per cent of senior citizens aged 50-59 and 60 and above, respectively, connected to the Internet wirelessly among residents who had used portable infocomm equipment in the previous three months. This was more than a four-fold and six-fold increase respectively compared to 2010, when the proportions were 15 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.
More than half of the senior citizens learnt their computer and Internet skills from family members, the most common source of knowledge.
In Singapore home Internet and broadband access rates were 88 per cent and 87.5 per cent respectively in 2014, about 3-4 percentage points higher than in 2012, the survey showed.
For households with school-going children, Internet and broadband access rates were 98 per cent and 97 per cent respectively in 2014, an increase of about 1-2 percentage points from 2012.
Fibre and wireless broadband continued to replace ADSL and cable modem as the Internet connection of choice by households, with 62 per cent of resident households using fibre broadband in 2014 (up from 25 per cent in 2012), and 56 per cent using wireless broadband in 2014 (up from 38 per cent in 2012).
Households showed trends of switching to using Internet-enabled mobile phones to access the Internet with 96 per cent of resident households doing so, a 62 percentage-point increase from 2010.
The top three primary Internet activities remained the same over the last three years, and were related to communication, leisure, and getting information. The most commonly cited reason for not using the Internet remained "lack of knowledge, skills or confidence".
In 2014, around 1.44 million Singapore residents shopped online, the number increasing by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 14 per cent from 2012.
Over the past three years, online shoppers were mainly from the 15-49 age group and credit card payment was the most common among those aged 25 and above. Three most popular items purchased online were apparel, travel products, and tickets for entertainment events. A majority of the online shoppers (about 7 in 10) spent at least S$100 on their online purchases.
More than 80 per cent of Singapore residents adopt Internet security measures such as anti-virus software and security updates on computers used to access the Internet at home. However, adoption rates of anti-virus software installation on smartphones (30 per cent) were comparatively lower in 2014.
Commenting on the survey results, Steve Leonard, IDA's executive deputy chairman, said: "We are encouraged to see residents becoming more tech-savvy and connected, particularly the silver generation. This is useful to help the industry explore new opportunities to serve our citizens better and help build Singapore into a Smart Nation."