An estimated 797,700 Irish households, some 54.9pc of the total, had a home computer in 2005 compared with 649,000 (46.2pc) in 2004, the latest findings from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) have revealed.
Internet access also increased during this period with 655,000 households (or 45.1pc) having a computer connected to the internet in June 2005, compared with 537,000 in June 2004.
However, this compares with an EU average of 48pc. More than 70pc of households in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark and Sweden had internet access.
The main reasons given by households for not having internet access were that they did not need the internet (28.5pc), they lacked the skills to use it (20.2pc) and they did not want it (20pc). The total number of households that do not have access to the internet fell during the year from 848,400 to 768,900.
The CSO reveals that an estimated 817,000 people in Ireland used a computer every day or almost every day while an estimated 528,800 people in Ireland used the internet at least once a day.
According to the CSO, the most popular activities on the internet relate to firstly information search and online activities, secondly communications (via email) and thirdly interaction with public authorities.
During the 12 months from June 2004 to June 2005, more than 587,000 people ordered goods and services from the internet for private use. The CSO says the most common internet purchases are firstly travel and holiday accommodation, secondly films and music and thirdly tickets for events.
The main reasons given by people who do not order off the internet were that they had no need (354,500) and secondly that they preferred to shop in person (241,000).
By John Kennedy