In 2022, the overall trend towards greater digitisation that we saw accelerate in 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic has continued, however this year we are seeing some stabilisation in our online behaviours and how we communicate.
The ACMA report ‘How we communicate’, revealed that while the ongoing shift toward digital communications has continued, our use of digital platforms remained stable in 2022. Nearly all adults (95%) used a communication or social media site or app in the first half of 2022, and this year we saw our usage consolidating. On average, the number of platforms we used declined, from 5.7 in 2021 to 5.2 in 2022.
Our use of larger platforms such as Facebook and Instagram has plateaued, and smaller services, such as Google Meet, are becoming more popular. However, there are many age and gender differences by platform. For example, TikTok was used by 17% of adults in the 6 months to June 2022, but users are more likely to be 18 to 24-year-olds (43% vs 2% for those 75 and over) and female (23% vs 11% of males).
The research also shows that in 2022 fixed-line calls have stabilised for the first time since 2017. Less than a quarter of Australians (23%) made a landline call at home in the first half of 2022. Despite overall use remaining steady, it fell for those aged 65–74, from 46% in 2021 to 39% in 2022.
In contrast, more Australians are going online for calls. In 2022 – 63% used an app for video calls (up from 55% in 2021) and 52% used an app for voice calls (up from 45% in 2021).
The ACMA report ‘How we use the internet’ reveals the trend of increased internet usage by older Australians has continued, even though younger Australians have remained the strongest adopters of digital technology. The proportion of those aged 75 and over who are now online has almost doubled, from 52% in 2019 to 94% in 2022.
While COVID-19 related restrictions saw growth in online participation across many areas of our lives, in 2022 we see some activities such as online shopping and emailing stabilising. The areas of continued growth in 2022 included listening to audio content, accessing news online and telehealth consultations.
Both ACMA research reports seek to better understand communications and media services in Australia including consumer take-up, views and attitudes.