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Which Countries Spend The Most Time Online

December 31, 2008

The Chinese spend the largest fraction of their leisure time online, according to a survey of more than 27,000 web users in 16 countries.

UK housewives, however, spend even more than China’s average at 47%. Germans are the most likely to meet someone in real life that they first met online; more than three quarters have done so.

The study also found that the UK is the least trusting of information in its newspapers among the 16 countries.

The global market information group TNS, conducted the survey of 27,522 people aged between 18 and 55. The group asked questions about their web use and compared respondents’ faith in traditional versus online media.

The average respondent in China spends 44% of their leisure time online, nearly three times the amount of the average Danish respondent.

Under-25s spend 36% of their leisure time online on average across all countries; in China, under-25s claim they spend 50%.

A breakdown by occupation in the UK shows striking differences in response; students spend 39%, more than the unemployed (32%) but still far less than housewives.

In regard to online socializing, on average across all countries, respondents had 17 online friends.

But when respondents were asked the question “Have you ever arranged to meet in person people who you’ve met through the internet?”, Germans came out on top with a whopping 76% saying yes.

At 40%, the Chinese were at the bottom of the 16-strong list””still a reasonable fraction reporting they had crossed from online life into real life.

Arno Hummerston, managing director of TNS survey, said the results show people are actively engaging others online, but haven’t lost the knack for conventional social contact.

“At the same time, online acquaintances are now perceived by most of us as real acquaintances,” he added.

Across all countries, the average was 60% having met online friends face-to-face; the UK was just below that figure at 58%.

National differences showed across a further part of the study comparing online and traditional media and information sources.

Online news sites in the UK are second only to friends as the primary source of trusted information; two fifths said they considered online news a “highly trusted” medium.

With only 23% counting newspapers as highly trusted, the UK was markedly less trusting of print media. At the top were Finnish respondents, who were some three times more likely – 69% – to describe their newspapers as trustworthy.

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