The use of sharing economy services is growing

Posted on 19 September 2018, 11:00

According to Statistics Estonia, in 2018, the share of internet users among 16–74-year-olds reached 89%, which is 1 percentage point more than a year ago. The share of internet users who ordered accommodation and transport services from private persons increased by 4 and 3 percentage points, respectively.

91% of households had internet connection at home, which is 2 percentage points more than in 2017. Almost all households with children (99%) and 87% households without children had internet at home. Fixed broadband connection (wired or wireless) was used at home by 89% of the households with internet connection. 81% of the households with internet connection had mobile internet.

98% of 16–54-year-old internet users used the internet in the last 3 months. The share of internet users increased the most among 65–74-year-olds, rising from 53% to 59%. The digital divide between the youngest (16–24-year-olds) and the oldest age group (65–74-year-olds) decreased to 41 percentage points. 92% of internet users used the internet daily.

Nine out of ten 16–74-year-old internet users used the internet to send or read e-mails, use internet banking services and seek information on goods and services. 69% of internet users watched videos (e.g. films, music) and 66% listened to music online. In the last 12 months, every fourth internet user booked a transport service (e.g. Taxify or Uber) and every fifth booked an accommodation service (e.g. on from a private person through a website or mobile app. In the last 12 months, 81% of internet users submitted applications or data (e.g. e-tax declaration) and 78% sought information on the website or mobile phone app of a public sector authority.

In the last 12 months, 68% of internet users bought or ordered a product or service online, which is 3 percentage points more than in 2017. Among females who use the internet, the share of e‑commerce users is 71%, whereas the same share for males is 65%. The share of e-commerce users who ordered from the internet at least 5 times increased by 4 percentage points, from 23% to 27%. Products or services were mainly ordered from Estonian sellers (85% of e-commerce users). In the last year, the orders from sellers outside the European Union (e.g. USA, China) increased by 5 percentage points. The products ordered the most from the internet were insurance policies (66%), travel and accommodation services (63%) and tickets to different events (58%).

In 2018, 13% of Estonian enterprises employed information and communication technology (ICT) specialists. Less than a tenth (6%) of enterprises tried to recruit or recruited ICT specialists and 4% of enterprises had difficulties recruiting ICT specialists. Unfortunately, the number of ICT specialists is not showing an increase compared to the previous year, but rather a slight decline. On the one hand, this can be explained by the fact that more than half of the enterprises that recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists in 2017 had difficulties finding ICT professionals. On the other hand, the market has come up with new solutions in the form of cloud services that provide the opportunity to rent software, hardware or combinations of them or use server space to store and save files. The use of such a service enables an enterprise to successfully manage without ICT specialists, as cloud services are managed and monitored by the service providers.

In 2018, one third (34%) of Estonian enterprises purchased cloud services. The most common cloud services are financial and accounting software applications, office software and file storage and hosting and e-mail services. The biggest users of paid cloud services are information and communication sector enterprises, who are providers of cloud services themselves, too.

In 2018, for the first time in the IT survey of enterprises, information was collected about the use of three‑dimensional (3D) printing technology. Although 3D printing is no longer a new topic, its use in the business sector is not very common. Probably the reason is that the technology used is not cheap and it is mainly limited to plastics, although universities have already been experimenting with 3D printing of metal objects. The results of the survey show that 2% of Estonian enterprises have used 3D printing. The technology has been used the most in information and communication, manufacturing, healthcare and commerce sectors. 3D printing was mostly used to produce models or prototypes for the company's own use or in manufacturing processes.

According to the survey data, 3% of Estonian enterprises have used industrial robots and about 1% have used service robots. Service robots have been used the most by large enterprises, employing 250 or more employees. Manufacturing and transportation and storage enterprises have used service robots both in warehousing systems and assembly work. More than a third (35%) of the enterprises using service robots used them in customer service, for example, in informing customers, placing goods, delivering product information.

The use of information technology among persons aged 16–74, households and enterprises is studied based on a harmonized methodology in all European Union Member States.

Statistics Estonia studies the use of information technology in households and among inhabitants aged 16–74 annually in the 2nd quarter. From 2005 to 2013, this was part of the Labour Force Survey, since 2014 an independent survey. A household is a group of persons who live at the same address and share joint financial resources and whose members consider themselves to be members of one household. It differs from family, which is based on family relationships or kinship.

Statistics Estonia has surveyed the use of information technology in enterprises since 2001. 3,400 enterprises participated in the survey in 2018. The survey involves enterprises with 10 or more persons employed.

For the statistical activity “Information technology in households” and “Information technology in enterprises” the main representative of public interest is the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.