Oman has recently witnessed a noticeable increase in social media use and use of the Internet for research, doing business and obtaining information and services.
The survey, ‘Measuring the Access to and Use of ICT by Households and Individuals 2020’, reveals that WhatsApp app came first (92%) in terms of usage, followed by YouTube with 81%, Facebook with 56%, Imo 47% and Instagram 44%, while the use of Twitter reached 25%, followed by Snapchat by 24%.
The Ministry of Technology and Communications (MTC) and the National Center for Statistics and Information (NCSI) announced the results of the 2020 survey which was carried out during the period of February 9- 20 with the aim of providing the required data for decision makers to formulate the related policies and updating Oman indicators in the international databases, e.g. ITU, UNDESA and ESCWA.
The survey was conducted by the NCSI Call Center through telephone interviews on a sample of 2,612 individuals 18 years and above, representing all governorates of the sultanate, as the Omanis comprised 44% and expats 56%.
The survey questionnaire was designed according to the international standards and definitions related to ICT indicators. The survey questionnaire was divided into two main parts, the first part focused on measuring household access to information and communication technologies such as Internet, mobile and smart devices, while the second part focused on measuring individuals’ use of information and communication technologies during the past three months, such as the Internet, the type of activities carried out online, the skills of using information and communication technologies and social media, as well as finding the most important reasons for not using the Internet.
The most important indicators of access to information and communication technologies by the household sector are household possession of smartphones, which reached 95%, in addition to household access to the Internet, which reached 94%, while household possession of computers (including smartphones) reached 96%. All these indicators witnessed a slight decrease by 1% compared to the results of 2019. This year, the survey included measuring new indicators that were not included in the previous survey in 2019, namely: the possession of smart TV 47%, smart watches 18%, smart cameras 14% and smart printers 14%.
The results of the survey show that the percentage of individuals owning mobile phones reached 97%, and the percentage of people owning smartphones was 94%. With regard to the use of information and communication technologies by individuals during the three months prior to conducting the survey, some indicators witnessed an increase compared to the results of the survey conducted in 2019, as this year, the percentage of individuals using the Internet increased to 95% of the total population compared to 92% in 2019.
In addition, the percentage of individuals using computers (including smartphone) increased to 95% in 2020 compared to 93% in 2019. The results of the 2020 survey indicated that there has been a noticeable increase in the use of social media by individuals to reach 95% compared to 92% in 2019.
The results of the survey also concluded that the percentage of Internet use among females was 97% compared to 94% among males. As for the age groups, the total age group of 18-54 years exceed the rate of Internet use by 90%, while the percentage of use by the age group 55 years and above is only 80%; however, the percentage of use among Omanis and expats is 95% equally.
The results of the survey showed good levels of activities using information and communication technologies by any device, as it showed that about 92% of individuals aged 18 years and above have the ability to send messages, whether through e-mail, WhatsApp or SMS. The percentage of using cutting and pasting tools reached 84%, while the use of searching for, downloading or installing software, or adjusting the settings was 67%.
The survey results indicated a noticeable increase in the percentage of social media users (WhatsApp, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Pinterest) compared to the results of the 2019 survey; whereas the percentage of Imo app, forums, and blogs users decreased. Based on the results, WhatsApp app came first in terms of usage by 92%, followed by YouTube with 81%, then Facebook with 56%, followed by Imo by 47%, then Instagram by 44%, while the use of Twitter reached 25%, followed by Snapchat by 24 %.
The activities on Internet have witnessed a rise in the areas of research, doing business and obtaining information and services. The results indicate that 77% of Internet users search and download files, videos, pictures, electronic games, and others. At the same rate (77%) of respondents use the Internet to search for information (such as searching for information about goods, services or health-related information, government institution services, reading or downloading newspapers, magazines, or e-books). While the lowest uses of the Internet were electronic services related to travel and hotel reservation by 25%.
Reasons for not using the Internet:
In addition to identifying indicators of access to and use of technology, the survey sought to identify the reasons for not using the Internet in the past three months, as the results show that the most important of these reasons were inability to read and write by 38% of the total individuals who do not use the Internet, followed by inability to use the internet 31% and no need to use the internet at the same rate.
The survey also came out with a number of respondents’ observations, the most important of which were, weak Internet coverage in some residential areas in the various governorates of the sultanate, and the respondents expressed their opinion about the high prices of Internet packages and the lack of Internet in a number of the wilayats of the sultanate.