The UK public is hungry for new technology, with 54 per cent of respondents to a new survey having a computer at home.
But market research group Mintel challenged the figure, from Cable and Wireless Communications, putting it at a more conservative 30 per cent of households.
The CWC survey, which covered how we communicate on the phone, at work, at home and play, was sent to over 1.5 million CWC customers throughout the UK and had a 22 per cent response.
The discrepancy with the Mintel statistics is partly because CWC customers are not typical of the general UK population and the definition of the word ?computer? in the survey was not strictly applied to PCs.
CWC spokesperson Sean Harris said: ?We asked ?Do you have a computer at home?? not ?What do you use it for? They may just have a computer which they use for games, or a computer which they only use for managing accounts - only using it for very limited applications."
He continued: "This would explain why only 12 per cent have an Internet connection at home. Although awareness is growing with over 50 per cent of people expecting to have an Internet connection within the next five years.?
The survey found that 17 per cent of young singles and 18 per cent of established families have Internet connections. ?Young people and families are more switched on about future IT,? Harris said. ?They have a higher awareness of advanced IT. They have grown up with the pay for view channels of Sky, whereas older people may not be used to it.?
The survey did highlight a potential market for home shopping through the Internet. However Harris pointed out that there was a ?general malaise? towards the idea of Net shopping in general.
He explained: ?Under half wanted to do their grocery shopping from home, but when we were specific the response was much higher. For example, 73 per cent said they would like to be able to look at their room before they booked their holiday. The more tangible the idea, the bigger response.?
On the entertainment front, although 57 per cent said that they never rented films on video, and 86 per cent were in favour of selecting films from their television, there is some resistance to new technology. 88 per cent of respondents said they wanted better programmes rather than more channels.
?People don?t want to wade through loads of crap,? said Harris. ?The survey will be a benchmark for CWC when we launch movies on demand in the New Year. We are still number crunching the results at the moment but we are finding out what people want and their fears. It is important to tailor the service to the customer and we must provide some guardance for that.?
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