Published: 10 November 2020

Use of the Internet for following the media and for communication has increased

Eighty-two per cent of Finns aged 16 to 89 used the Internet several times a day in 2020. The share increased by three percentage points from the previous year. Using the Internet several times a day increased particularly in the two oldest age groups of the survey, among those aged 65 to 74 by six percentage points and among those aged 75 to 89 by seven percentage points. The share of Internet users of the population grew by two percentage points from the previous year to 92 per cent. These data appear from Statistics Finland's 2020 survey on use of information and communications technology by individuals.

Prevalence of Internet usage and certain purposes of use in 2020, Percentage share of population

  Used the Internet 1) Usually uses the Internet several times a day Online shopping 1) Making Internet calls 1) Following social network services 1)
16-24 100 98 62 87 92
25-34 100 97 77 91 92
35-44 99 97 80 86 86
45-54 99 93 70 82 80
55-64 97 83 46 69 60
65-74 88 62 25 55 46
75-89 51 30 8 19 16
 
Men 93 83 56 69 66
Women 91 80 53 74 71
 
All 92 82 54 72 69
1) During the past three months

Finns most commonly use the Internet for communication, following the media, shopping and everyday errands. Nowadays, various devices and systems, such as household appliances and heating and security systems, are also controlled via the Internet.

Of the modes of communicating on the Internet, the most common was email, which 87 per cent of those aged 16 to 89 had used in the past three months. A total of 76 per cent of Finns had used instant messaging on a smartphone and 72 per cent had made Internet calls. Making Internet calls grew by as much as 12 percentage points in one year.

Online newspapers and television companies' news pages are most commonly followed among the media. During the past three months, 85 per cent of those aged 16 to 89 had read them. Television companies' net television services had been watched by 74 per cent and chargeable video on-demand services by 49 per cent of Finns.

There were changes in following the media in 2020. Following online papers and news pages of television companies increased by nine percentage points from the previous year. The change was biggest in the age groups 65 to 74 and 75 to 89, where the popularity of television companies' net television services also grew. Listening to audio books in the past three months increased most in younger age groups, by 17 percentage points among those aged 25 to 34 and by 16 percentage points among those aged 35 to 44. One million Finns (23% of those aged 16 to 89) had listened to audio books, while in the year before the corresponding figure was only 600,000.

During the past three months, 69 per cent of those aged 16 to 89 followed social network services. In the previous year, 61 per cent followed social network services and in 2015 the figure was 58 per cent. The change in 2020 is exceptional. In relative terms, the growth was biggest in the oldest age groups, among those aged 65 to 74 the number of followers of social network services grew from under 200,000 to over 300,000 and among those aged 75 to 89 from 45,000 to over 75,000. It is probable that the restrictions imposed by the “corona spring” moved social interaction to the web and motivated elderly people to learn new social media skills.

The most commonly used social network service in 2020 was Facebook, followed by 58 per cent of those aged 16 to 89. WhatsApp and Instagram with shares of 50 and 39 per cent came next. When asked which of the social network services the respondent used most, 36 per cent said Whatsapp and only 32 per cent Facebook. Young people used WhatsApp more often than Facebook, similarly as Instagram. In the older age groups the situation was the opposite.

Of everyday errands, online banking is most common. Eighty-seven per cent of persons aged 16 to 89 had used online banking in the past three months in 2020. People also use the Internet increasingly for handling matters with authorities and other public services. In 2020, altogether 68 per cent of Finns had sent an official form over the Internet during the past year. Fifty per cent of Finns had made a doctor’s appointment.

Over the past three months, 54 per cent of the population had bought goods or services over the Internet, which means that online shopping continues to become more common. In 2020, the number of purchases also increased and the amount of money spent on online shopping grew somewhat. Over three months, 17 per cent of Finns ordered food portions online directly from restaurants or through courier services. Eight per cent bought food or beverages from stores. In 2019, all purchases of food were asked with one question and with a reference period of 12 months. At that time, eight per cent of Finns bought food, so it would seem that buying food online has established itself once and for all during “corona spring”.

The use of devices and systems connected to the Internet is becoming more common. In 2020, every tenth person aged 16 to 89 had used home security systems, while seven per cent of Finns used home heating, lighting and similar systems. Of devices connected to the Internet, the most popular were smart watches, fitness trackers and security equipment, which 30 per cent of the respondents used. In all, 16 per cent of those aged 16 to 89 used virtually assisted smart speakers; of young people and students as many as nearly one-third.

The survey data were collected with a web questionnaire and telephone interviews between 20 March and 10 June. In mid-April, half of the responses had been collected. The situation caused by the corona virus has had some impact on the results.


Source: Survey on Use of information and communications technology 2020, Statistics Finland

Inquiries: Perttu Melkas 029 551 2511, Rauli Kohvakka 029 551 3448, tietoyhteiskunta.info@stat.fi

Head of Department in charge: Hannele Orjala


Updated 10.11.2020

Referencing instructions:

Official Statistics of Finland (OSF): Use of information and communications technology by individuals [e-publication].
ISSN=2341-8710. 2020. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [referred: 28.7.2021].
Access method: http://www.stat.fi/til/sutivi/2020/sutivi_2020_2020-11-10_tie_001_en.html