The first consumer Internet confidence index from Barclays, the UK’s biggest online bank, indicates that the over 55s are more confident online than Britain’s youths.
The Index, created by Barclays in conjunction with NOP Solutions, is the first of its kind in the UK to track national consumer Internet confidence levels and changes in Internet activity every quarter.
Results reveal an increase in the national level of confidence by 4.7 points from 100 points in December 2000 to 104.7 points in March 2001. Significantly, over this quarter the confidence of silver surfers has jumped by 3.1 points in contrast to a 1.6 dip in confidence among 15 to 24 year olds.
While their overall confidence in the Internet is declining, the number of 15 to 24 year olds banking online perversely increased by 12 per cent. Silver Surfers’ overall online activity over the past three months has also increased (up 1.2 per cent).
Other key findings revealed by the index are:
* Internet users grew by a modest one per cent last quarter (up from 43 to 44 per cent of the total population);
* use of email and Internet research activities among surfers dropped by five and four per cent respectively, yet these two areas continue to dominate the bulk of British surfers’ activities (87 per cent currently use email, while 89 per cent use the Web for research and information purposes);
* there has been significant growth in convenience and leisure-based online activities - since December 2000 both the use of chat rooms and games increased by two per cent while online shopping and the purchase of financial products rose by just one per cent;
* banking online among Internet users rose by five per cent from 23 per cent in December 2000 to 28 per cent;
* strongest growth was recorded in account transfers (up by 13 per cent) and online bill payments(up by 10 per cent);
* twice as many online bankers are now extending and amending overdrafts than in December 2000.
Ian Richardson, Barclays e-director, says people are becoming more confident in the Internet and are carrying out more transaction based activities such as transferring money and paying bills.