Internet use in the UK has more than doubled in the last year with 5.9 million adults having surfed the Web.
Market researchers NOP interviewed a sample poll of 9,000 people in Europe, 3,004 of whom were in the UK. It found that 10.3 million Britons have access to the Internet.
Of the 5.9 million who have accessed the Web, 3.5 million do it from home, while 2.6 million visit it from work and 2.1 million from schools, colleges or libraries.
A further 1.7 million Britons expect to use the Internet within the next six months.
Around 81 per cent said they would prefer to learn relevant skills before browsing. This compares starkly with current Web users, two-thirds of whom are self-taught.
?This shows there is a perception gap as most Web users? experiences are one of trial and error. It is much easier than many think,? said Fabiola Arredondo, European managing director of Yahoo! which co-sponsored the survey.
For service providers this means they must work to convince potential users of the Internet?s ease of use. The content must also be compelling and relevant on a national level to retain interest.
Price is a principle driver when chosing an Internet or online service provider, followed closely by recommendations from trusted sources. Around 66 per cent of Web users are still with their first Internet Service Provider (ISP) or Online Service Provider (OSP). When this is tied to the fact that only five per cent of users opted for free one-month trial offers, the report suggests many regard such promotions as risky and prefer to stick to a service they can trust.
The survey revealed the stereotype of Web surfers as sad, lonely geeks is wrong. Around 39 per cent of the users surveyed live in households with children, while 63 per cent are married or living with a partner.
Chat services were the most popular destination with a whopping 33 per cent of users having accessed them.
People are also actively buying products over the Web with clothes and cars being purchased along with books and CDs. Around 800,000 consumers said they bought a product or service as a result Web advertising.
This increased Web usage however, has brought one main casualty - the television. With 3.8 million people accessing the Web weekly and the majority spending more than three hours at a time browsing, a fifth of Web users are watching less TV.
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