For this question, we mean how many time you use the Web for a specific set
of tasks or activities. We do not mean how many times the browser is launched per
43.6% of respondents use the Web 1 to 4 times a day. 37.9% use it more frequently, and 18.5%
use it less frequently. compared to the fourth survey, this indicates a slight rise in the percentage
of respondents using the Web on a daily basis.
Fewer females use their browsers on a daily basis: 72.2% of females compared to 86.6% of males.
Both of these percentages, however, are higher than in the fourth survey.
The largest category for all age groups uses the Web 1 to 4 times a day.
Older users don't use the Web as many times per day as younger users.
This is a new question for the Fifth survey. For this question, we asked respondents what browser
they expected to be using in 12 months. These numbers may be somewhat biased because Netscape provided
a link to the survey while it was executing. This may have led to a disproportional amount of Netscape
users responding, so these results should be interpreted conservatively.
Despite the fact that the actual percentage for Netscape might be inflated (89.4%), it is clear
that it is the dominant Web browser. The only other specific browser with a notable percentage was
Microsoft's Internet Explorer with 3.8%. 5.2% report using some "other" browser not listed in the
Females are slightly more inclined to use Netscape than other browsers.
There were no significant differences across age groups for this question.
About half of all respondents reported that their organizations do not use Intranets (i.e. private
networks based on Internet standards and technology) and 16% aren't sure. They seem to be more prevalent in
Europe where 42.2% of respondents using them. This could be because of the academic affiliation of many European
More than twice as many females as males don't know if their organization is using Intranets.
As respondents get older, they are less likely to belong to organizations which use Intranets;
61.2% of respondents over 50 do not use them.
For this question, users were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 9 how much they liked
pages which contained these different media types.
The most liked type of pages is those which are searchable (7.6), followed closely by
pages which are meta-indices (7.5) even though users are reporting less use of meta-indices.
(See: Browsing Strategies.)
Users reported a slight preference for images (5.0) over other media types (3.9 for movies,
4.2 for sounds, 4.5 for text).
There were no significant differences between gender for this question.
Older users showed a slight preference for text and meta-indices, while younger users showed an
equally slight preference for images.
Close to half of the respondents (47.8%) reported that they have never accessed newsgroups or only
accessed them a few times. Of those who do access them on a regular basis, the largest category
use them several times a week (14.0%).
More females than males have accessed newsgroups only a few times (31.4% female, 25.5% male), but
approximately the same percentage of males and females have never accessed them (21%).
Older respondents tend to access newsgroups more frequently than younger respondents: 22.8% access them
at least once a day.
For this question, users were asked which of the following problems they
encountered when using the Web: not being able to find a page I know is out there
("find info"), not being able to determine where I am ("lost in htext"), not being able
to organize well the pages & information I gather ("organize"), not being able to
find a page I once visited ("return"), it takes too long to view/download pages ("speed"), not
being able to visualize where I have been and where I can go ("visualize"), and
it costs too much ("cost"). Users
were allowed to mark more than one answer.
As was found in the fourth survey, the most common problems are: speed (80.9%),
organizing retrieved information (33.6%), and finding information (32.4%). Speed is even more of
a problem than in the last survey (69.1% fourth), even though respondents are reporting higher
modem speeds. See Speed of Connection.
The least reported problems are: getting lost in hypertext (5.4%) and the cost (9.2%).
About twice as many Europeans as US respondents reported that cost was a problem.
The only notable difference between genders was the problem of finding information: 28.8% of males,
and 40.0% of females reported this problem.
More younger users than older users reported finding and organizing information and returning to
previously visited sites to be a problem.
Product information is one of the most popular types of information accessed. Only 7.6% have
never accessed product information on the Web; 30.1% access it on a weekly basis and 26.3% on a
Males access product information more regularly than females do: 34.6% of males access it on a weekly
basis compared to only 20.0% of females.
15.2% of females have never accessed product information on the Web.
There are no clear trends for use of product information with respect to age, although
there are noticeable differences in many of the frequency categories.
For this question, users could mark more than one answer.
The most common reason for saving documents is to use them offline (63.3%), followed by
reading them offline (52.7%), and distributing them to others (48.2%). These are the same
reasons seen in the fourth survey, although the percentages for each have increased slightly.
There were no noticeable differences between genders.
Older users were more likely to save documents to use them offline, read them offline, and distribute
them to others. Younger users were more likely to save them to use the content, to copy the format, or
because they were afraid they would disappear.
Reference information in the most frequently accessed category of those we inquired about.
17.5% of respondents reported using reference information on a daily basis and 33.8% use it
on a weekly basis. Only 3.3% have never accessed reference information on the Web.
Females reported slightly less frequent use of reference information than males did.
Users in the 26-50 age range reported the most frequent use of reference information compared
to other age groups.
Frequency of Using WWW Browser to Replace other Internet Interfaces
Respondents frequently use their WWW browsers to replace other Internet interfaces (i.e.
the use their browser to access FTP, Gopher, WAIS, etc.). 24.0% reported using it for this purpose
at least once a day, and 19.8% at least once a week.
Respondents from Europe use their WWW browsers for this purpose less frequently than do respondents
from the US.
More females than males were unsure of whether they were using their WWW browser to replace
other Internet interfaces.
There is no clear relationship between age and this use of WWW browsers.
For this question, users were asked what strategies they use when browsing the
Web: Hotlist (users revisiting pages they have added to their hotlist), Index (using
search engines such as Lycos), Meta-index (using large indices such as Yahoo),
Opportunistic (following links from page to page as they are encountered), and
URL (typing in known URLs).
For this question, users were allowed to mark more than one answer.
Once again, all categories had very high percentages. As in the fourth survey, the
highest was Hotlist (84.7%) but the lowest changed from typing URLS to using Meta-indices (65.1%).
The percentages for Hotlist, URL, and Index (or Search) have risen since the fourth survey
while percentages for Meta-indices and Opportunistic strategies have dropped.
Females reported a higher use of opportunistic searching than did males (78.0% female, 67.7% male).
Older respondents reported relying on their hotlist more than younger respondents.
Here, shopping refers to actually making purchases over the Web.
A high percentage of users (46.4%) have never used the Web for online shopping, but 33.5% have
used it a few times.
An even higher percentage of users in Europe have never used the Web for shopping (58.8%), but
interestingly they also have the highest percentage of users who use the Web to shop on a daily
Fewer females than males have used the Web for shopping at least once.
Respondents in the 19-25 age range are least likely to have used the Web for shopping at least
once (53.0% never have), compared to approximately 41% who never have in the other age categories.
For this question, users were allowed to mark more than one answer.
Most respondents (90.7%) find out about Web pages from other Web pages. The next most popular
source is search engines with 83.1% of users finding pages this way. Other popular sources are:
magazines (64.7%), friends (58.5%), Usenet ("nntp" 44.4%) and newspapers (39.3%).
The most noticeable differences between US and European respondents are in finding out
about Web pages via TV (38.2% US, 19.8% Europe) and Usenet (45.7% US, 55.6% Europe).
Continuing the trend from the fourth survey, a smaller percentage of females find out about
pages from Usenet than do males (32.6% female, 52.1% male).
Older respondents are more likely to find out about Web pages through traditional media:
magazines (71.6%), newspapers (56.7%), TV (37.8%), and books (31.8%).
All age groups are equally likely to use other Web pages and search engines to find new
The most common connection speed is 28.8 Kb/sec (39.0%) followed by 14.4 Kb/sec (25.5%). This the reverse of the fourth survey, where 14.4 Kb/sec connections were the most common.
The number of respondents connecting at speeds less than or equal to 28.8 Kb/sec has grown slightly since the fourth survey from 61% to 65.5%. So while respondents have faster modems than in previous surveys, more respondents are using modems than in previous surveys.
European respondents, in general, have faster connection speeds.
A higher percentage of females than males are unsure of their connection
speeds (23.6% vs. 5.4%).
A higher percentage of respondents over age 50 are connecting with speeds under
28.8 Kb/sec (87.5%).
A higher percentage of respondents between 19 and 25 years old are unsure of
their connection speed (16.8%).
This was a new question for the fifth survey. Slightly more than half of all respondents (51.9%)
plan to spend between $101 and $500 (US) for Internet access next year and 21.0% plan to spend nothing. Very
few plan to spend over $500.
Europeans plan to spend less, in general.
Females, in general, plan to spend less on access than males and 26.6% plan to spend nothing. This
is probably because of the educational affiliation of many female respondents.
Users over age 50 plan to spend more than other age groups with 71.2% planning to spend
between $101 and $500.
Respondents reported a wide range of expected spending on Software and Hardware in the
next year: 28.0% plan to spend $101-500 (US) while 24.7% plan to spend $1000-4999. The
remaining percentages of those who plan to spend something, are almost equally likely to
spend more, less, or between these amounts.
Only 11.0% do not plan to spend anything on Software and Hardware next year.
Europeans are more like to spend nothing or more than $1000 than are Americans.
Females, in general, plan to spend less next year on Software and Hardware.
Respondents in the 19-25 age range are most likely to spend less than $100, while users over 50
are most likely to spend $101-500.
Those aged 26-50 years are most likely to spend over $1000 next year.
This is a new question for the fifth survey, and was designed to determine what
technologies people are using to communicate with each other. The results indicate
that most people use many different technologies to communicate.
Email is used by respondents just as much as the telephone, and both uses are
reported by almost all of the respondents (98.1% email, 97.6% phone). The technologies
that are used the least are wireless phones (44.3%) and pagers (32.5%), but these
percentages are still quite high, in general.
More than twice as many US respondents use voice mail as European respondents,
likewise for pagers.
There were no significant differences for gender for this question.
Respondents in the 26-50 age range are more likely to to use each communication
method than are other users with the exception of traditional mail ("snail mail") which
is used more by older respondents.
Frequency of Surfing the WWW Instead of Watching TV
This question was refined from the fourth survey to allow us to get more detailed information
about the relationship between Web use and TV watching.
Almost 36% of respondents claim that they use the Web instead of watching TV on a daily
basis. An additional 28.9% say the Web replaces TV on a weekly basis, usually more than once
Respondents from Europe are far less likely to use the Web instead of watching TV; 25.8%
say they have never used the Web instead of watching TV.
Females are less likely than males to use the Web instead of TV several times a day, but they
are nearly equal in all other categories.
Older users are more inclined to use the Web instead of watching TV. For those over 50, 74.3% report
using it at least several times a week compared to 60.0% of those aged 26-50 and 57.4% of those aged 19-25.