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ICT Usage in Households and by Individuals in Bulgaria in 2015

Computer World

According to Commission Regulation (EU) No. 1196/2014 of 30 October 2014, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) of Bulgaria conducted a survey on Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) usage in households and by individuals. The survey was carried out in all member states of the European Union according to a common methodology which ensures an international comparability of the results. 4 085 ordinary households and 9 011 individuals aged 16 - 74 were interviewed.

Access to the internet in households

The results of the survey on the information and communications technologies (ICT) usage in households and by individuals showed that in Bulgaria, 59.1% of the households had access to the internet at home in 2015, which was a growth of 2.4 percentage points, compared to the previous year. The relative share of households using broadband internet connection was increased (by 2.3 percentage points) - up to 58.8%, or almost all households with internet access were ensured with fast and reliable connection.

ICT Usage in Households and by Individuals in Bulgaria in 2015

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For ten year period the use of ICT became more widely - the relative share of households with internet access had increased more than three times, and the use of broadband had increased more than 5 times. 

In 2015, the highest relative share of households with iternet access was found in the Yugozapaden region - 67.8%, where the capital city is located. It is followed by the Yugoiztochen region and the Severen tsentralen region, respectively with 58.6% and 58.2%. The households in the Severozapaden region lagged behind the tendency with in the country, as there only 44.9% of the households had access to the internet at home. 

The reasons why households do not have internet access at home were complex - more than half (51.6%) blamed the lack of skills for working with the internet, and for 38.5% the costs of the necessary equipment or subscription fees were high.

ICT Usage in Households and by Individuals in Bulgaria in 2015

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ICT usage by individuals aged 16 - 74 years In 2015, 54.6% of the individuals aged 16 - 74 years used the internet every day or at least once a week.

There is a stable trend for growth of the regular internet usage by individuals, as in comparison to the previous year an increase of 0.9 percentage points was registered. A positive trend for decline in the share of persons aged 16 - 74 years old who have never used the internet was observed - from 37.1% in 2014 to 34.7% in 2015.

Data from the so far conducted surveys on ICT usage by individuals showed that the most active web users were young people between 16 and 24 years.

During the current year 84.1% of them used the internet every day or at least once a week. It is noted inversely proportional relationship between age groups and frequency of regular use of the internet - in the higher age groups were observed lower values of this indicator, as only 10.5% of the population in the highest observed age group (65 - 74 age years) used the global network. 

Males were more active in regular internet usage in comparison to females - respectively 55.2% and 54.0%.

There were significant differences in regularly using the internet by education - while 86.3% of those with tertiary education regularly used the global network, only 24.7% of the individuals with primary or lower education benefited from the opportunities that it provides.

The use of storage space on the internet to store documents, photos, music, videos or other files (i.e., ‘Cloud services’) became more popular among regular internet users aged 16 - 74 years.

In comparison with the previous year, an increase from 21.3% to 31.2% was observed. Users of the cloud service in 2015 were 32.8% of males and 29.6% of females. Persons aged 16 - 24 years were the most active users of these services (43.1%), followed by those aged 25 - 34 years (37.4%), while only 12.4% of those aged over 55 used the internet storage space.

Main purposes of internet use by individuals (for private purposes) In 2015, the regular internet users mostly used the network for communication. 83.3% of them carried out phone or video calls over the internet, and 78.9% used e-mail.

Three quarters (75.9%) declared that they have benefited from the services of a global web space to participate in social networks, and 70.7% read online news and newspapers. Also main activities in the internet were finding information about goods or services (61.7%), searching for health information (50.1%) and consulting with online encyclopaedias (43.3%). 19.5% of consumers used the internet to search or apply for a job, and 9.8% - for internet banking.

Internet usage for interaction with public authorities by individuals

In 2015, 17.8% of individuals used a global network of interaction with the public administration and local government.

The most significant share is of the individuals who received information from the web page or website of public administration (16.0%), followed by the share of individuals downloaded forms from the official website (12.9%) and ones who send the completed form (9.1%) in the last twelve months.

Females were more active than males in the use of online services offered by public administration - respectively 19.0% and 16.6 %. 

Internet security

ICT Usage in Households and by Individuals in Bulgaria in 2015

© Computer World, Computerworld.bg

The survey for 2015 has introduced a special module on internet security.

According to the results 27.5% of the internet users had experienced problems related to catching a virus or other computer infection (e.g. worm or Trojan horse) resulting in loss of information or time. A relatively small share of the internet users (3.6%) were victims of abuse of personal information sent on the internet or other privacy violations.

Security concerns on providing personal information to online communities for social and professional networking had 21.8% of the internet users.

From ordering or buying goods or services and from carrying out banking activities such as account management were limited respectively 18.5% and 18.4% of them. Almost two thirds (65.7%) did not faced security threats which limited or kept them from doing their usual activities via the internet.

Half of internet users (50.8%) made regularly back up files from their computers on external storage device or to internet storage space for the reason of protecting them against data loss. The majority of them (42.2%) were aware that cookies can be used to trace movements of people on the internet. 21.4% of users changed the settings in their internet browser to prevent or limit the amount of cookies put on their computers.

Electronic commerce (E-commerce)

According to the results of the survey on ICT usage in households and by individuals for 2015, the share of individuals aged 16 - 74 years old who shopped for personal (not job - related) needs online reached 18.5%.

In comparison to the previous year increase of 1.9 percentage points was registered as the increase was 1.3 percentage points for males and 2.5 for females. 

Significant differences were observed in using e-commerce by educational attainment level of the individuals.

The share of persons with completed tertiary education who made orders/purchases of goods or services online was 38.6% while of those with completed basic education or lower this share was only 5.6%.

Most often individuals purchased online clothes and sport goods - 71.2 % of persons who had online purchases ordered such articles, followed by orders related to households’ goods (31.4%) and orders related to trips and hotel reservations (30.6%).

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