Home Office Use of the Internet Is Growing Dramatically, IDC Says

FRAMINGHAM, MA – JULY 24, 2000 – The percentage of U.S. home office PC households with Internet access soared to almost 81% by the end of 1999, up dramatically from just 26% at yearend 1996. According to IDC, this percentage will continue to rise and will approach 92% in 2004.

IDC believes a number of factors are driving the increase in Internet use, including the high availability of Internet-ready PCs, which simplify going online.

"A small business operating out of the home, which in the past was constrained by problems of logistics, can now easily establish a global presence via the Web," said Merle Sandler, a senior analyst with IDC’s Home Office Market research program. "Corporate home offices are using the Internet, sometimes instead of the telephone, to stay in touch with their offices and customers, and income-generating home offices are using it to create revenues."

The Internet applications that home offices use most frequently, such as remote access to corporate data, collaborative working, and file sharing, are all bandwidth intensive. As a result, the availability of high-speed Internet access is of particular importance to work-at-home households, and they have been among the first to adopt broadband technologies.

IDC expects traditional dial-up methods to remain the most popular way for home offices to access the Internet through 2004. However, this access method's dominance will steadily decline in the coming years. IDC forecasts the percentage of home offices using traditional dial-up methods to get online will decrease from 95% in 1999 to 55% in 2004. During the same time frame, use of cable modems will increase from 3.4% of home offices to almost 15%, while DSL will soar from less than 1% to over 23%.

"Different Internet-enabled capabilities will appeal in different ways to different types of home offices," Sandler said. "Income-generating home offices will be interested in the revenue generating capabilities of the Internet while corporate home workers will be interested in improving the quality of communications with company headquarters and in gaining remote access to company resources. The opportunity for those providing effective communication support to both groups will continue to grow in the coming years."

IDC recently published Home Offices on the Internet: Forecast and Analysis, 1999-2004 (IDC #B22440). This report analyzes Internet use by income-generating and corporate home office households. The report forecasts the number of and type of home office households and home office households using the Internet by access technology. The changing use of PCs in the different U.S. home office segments is discussed as is the way ecommerce is being implemented in the home office market. To purchase this report, please contact Patrick Steeves at 1-800-343-4952, extension 6787.

About IDC

IDC delivers dependable, high-impact insights and advice on the future of ebusiness, the Internet, and technology to help organizations make sound business decisions. IDC forecasts worldwide markets and trends and analyzes business strategies, technologies, and vendors, using a combination of rigorous primary research and in-depth competitive analysis. IDC provides global research with local content through more than 500 analysts in 43 countries worldwide. IDC's customers comprise the world's leading IT suppliers, IT organizations, ebusiness companies, and the financial community. Additional information can be found at http://www.idc.com.

IDC is a division of IDG, the world's leading IT media, research and exposition company.

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