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Communications and media in Australia: Methodology for interactive reports

We used the following methodology to produce these interactive reports from the Communications and media in Australia series:

  • How we use the internet
  • How we communicate.

ACMA annual consumer survey

The ACMA annual consumer survey provides information on:

  • consumer behaviour
  • adoption of, and attitudes towards, media and communications services
  • the effectiveness of regulatory interventions.

This research is part of the ACMA research program, which gathers evidence that informs our decisions as a regulator, and ensures we are up-to-date on market developments and consumer trends.

From 2017 to 2021, the ACMA-commissioned research was undertaken by The Social Research Centre (SRC) using the SRC’s probability-based online panel, Life in AustraliaTM (LinA). While most respondents completed the survey online, LinA also included people without internet access or who are not comfortable completing surveys online, who completed the survey by phone.

The survey data is representative of the Australian population aged 18 and over.

Table 1: Summary of key statistics, 2017 to 2021

 

Jun 2017

May 2018

May 2019

Jun 2020

Jun 2021

Total sample

2,277

2,107

2,067

2,009

3,586*

Online interviews

1,965

1,842

1,824

1,913

3,440

Telephone interviews

312

265

243

96

148

Fieldwork dates

16 May – 4 June

14–27 May

6–19 May

9–21 June

15–28 June

Interview duration (average)

20

25

20

25

19

Note: The 2021 total sample size was increased to enable more robust analysis of smaller survey subgroups.  

 

Table 2: Sample profile of respondents who completed the surveys (unweighted), 2017 to 2021

 

Jun 2017

May 2018

May 2019

Jun 2020

Jun 2021

Total

2,277

2,107

2,067

2,009

3,586

Male

1,055

974

971

879

1,564

Female

1,217

1,129

1,090

1,124

2,010

18–24 years

136

108

91*

81*

151

25–34 years

292

251

254

265

474

35–44 years

317

269

299

308

580

45–54 years

386

369

370

311

580

55–64 years

500

434

404

417

702

65–74 years

437

465

429

412

735

75 years and over

204

207

215

194

361

Metropolitan area

1,503

1,379

1,366

1,335

2,387

Regional area

774

727

701

674

1,199

Australians aged 18 and over who accessed the internet in the past 6 months

2,181

2,015

1,992

1,984

3,549

Australians aged 18 and over who used a mobile phone in the past 6 months

2,230

2,064

2,034

1,982

3,541

Australians aged 18 and over with household internet access

2,109

1,976

1,994

1,894

3,281

Australians aged 18 and over who used a fixed line phone in the past 6 months

1,398

1,176

997

788

1,108

* Sample sizes for Australians aged 18 to 24 are small (n<100 interviews), so these results should be interpreted with caution.

Note: ‘Metropolitan’ refers to those who live in Australian capital cities and ‘Regional’ refers to those who live in the rest of the state, as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) Greater Capital City Statistical Area definition.

Questionnaire changes from 2017 to 2021

The table below details the changes to the ACMA annual consumer survey questions referenced in our published reports. These changes should be taken into consideration when interpreting the findings.

Table 3: ACMA annual consumer survey questionnaire changes from 2017 to 2021

Question
number

Changes

Relevant report

A1

  • 2019–21 wording was ‘Used an app for messages (e.g. Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype); ‘Used an app for video calls (e.g. Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype)’, and ‘Used an app for voice calls (e.g. Messenger, WhatsApp, Skype)’.
  • 2017 wording was ‘Messaging/calling app (i.e. Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype)’.

How we use the internet; Service used

 

D7

  • 2020–21 included new questions on TV ownership with a detailed description of a ‘Smart TV’ (QA11).

How we use the internet; Smart devices connected to the internet

K1

  • 2019 wording was ‘Lottoland or a similar service betting on the outcome of a lottery’.
  • 2020–21 wording was ‘Lottoland or a similar service betting on results of the financial market indices’.

How we use the internet; Gambling activities performed online

K1

  • 2019 wording was ‘Sports betting such as betting on football or e-sports but not including horse or dog racing’.
  • 2020–21 wording was ‘Sports betting (e.g. betting on football) excluding horse or dog racing or e-sports'.

How we use the internet; Gambling activities performed online

Notes for reading the interactive reports:

The Communications and media in Australia interactive reports present the key findings and trends across the surveys conducted from 2017 to 2021.

  • All percentages are based on weighted survey estimates.
  • All percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number. As a result, there may be discrepancies between sums of the component items in a table or chart, and the total.
  • Base sizes are shown as the unweighted number of respondents on which the weighted estimates and proportions are based.
  • Categories with low sample sizes (less than n=100 interviews) should be interpreted with caution.  
  • Terminology of ‘use of an activity’ in key findings refers to measuring prevalence of an activity being undertaken, rather than frequency (that is, the proportion of the population that have undertaken activity at all in the relevant time period). 
  • All key findings highlight results that have been tested for statistical significance at the 95% confidence level.
  • The ACMA annual consumer survey research:
    • The research often asked about ‘the past 6 months’ – this is the period before the data was collected. For the 2021 survey, this broadly represents the period from December 2020 to June 2021.
    • Included some questions that have been filtered depending on the respondent’s previous responses. For example, the question about which internet activities were undertaken was only asked of those who reported in an earlier question that they had undertaken an internet activity in the 6 months before the survey. This is noted in descriptive language in the chart’s ‘base’ notes and the corresponding methodology tables. Care needs to be taken when interpreting the results so that the data is read in the correct context.
    • Included some questions that invited a multiple response, so the total responses may sum to more than 100%.
    • In some cases, ‘don’t know’, ‘refused’ and other responses with only small levels of responses are not shown or excluded from the analysis. These are noted under the charts in the digital report.

Privacy and standards

This research was undertaken in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and the Australian Privacy Principles contained therein, the Privacy (Market and Social Research) Code 2014, The Research Society Code of Professional Behaviour and ISO 20252 quality standards.

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