The percentage of people who made online purchases showed a significant increase, which reached 48 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 34.1 per cent in the corresponding period last year, according to data by the Statistical Service of Cyprus.

At the same time, during the period of April 2020 – March 2021, the percentage of individuals who used the internet for interaction with public authorities has increased to 57.3 per cent compared to 53.3 per cent in the corresponding period of 2019-2020.

Also, 55.9 per cent of individuals aged 16-74 used the internet to obtain information from public authorities or public services websites or apps, 47.6 per cent to download or print official forms and 45.8 per cent to submit completed forms online.

The most popular internet activities during the first quarter of 2021 were instant messaging via Skype, Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber (94.3 per cent), making calls over the internet (94.2 per cent), reading online news/newspapers/magazines (88.8 per cent), finding information about goods or services (87.1 per cent) and participating in social media networks like Facebook and Twitter (86.6 per cent).

21.7 per cent of persons that used the internet in the first quarter of 2021, did an online course and 19.0 per cent used online learning material other than a completely online course.

The most popular categories of goods/services ordered online were the following: deliveries or pick up from restaurants, fast-food chains (68.6 per cent), clothes (including sports clothing) shoes or accessories (62.0 per cent), computers, tablets, mobile phones or accessories (32.6 per cent) and cosmetics, beauty or wellness products (20.3 per cent).

Three out of four individuals, or 75.5 per cent who bought or ordered goods or services for private use in the first quarter of 2021, preferred sellers from Cyprus, 61.8 per cent bought from sellers from other EU countries and 56.8 per cent from sellers from the rest of the world.

In 2021, Internet access in households reached 93.4 per cent compared to 92.8 per cent in 2020. An 80 per cent of households have access to a personal computer (desktop, laptop/netbook or tablet) and a computer is found in almost all (95.4 per cent) households with dependent children. In households with no dependent children that percentage drops to 74.2 per cent.

Regarding the frequency of internet use, nine out of ten individuals use the Internet at least once a week. Internet use decreases with age. Starting from 98.9 per cent for the 16 – 24 age group the Internet use drops to 71 per cent for the 55 – 74 age group. Persons with a high educational attainment level (98.7 per cent) use the internet more frequently than persons with a low educational attainment level (67.8 per cent).