5% of Belgians are not online
The use of the Internet has continued to increase in 2023: 95% of Belgians aged 16 to 74 use the Internet, compared to 89% in 2018 and 82% in 2013. This is what emerged from the latest results of the survey on ICT usage in households organised every year by Statbel, the Belgian statistical office. Among the remaining 5%, 2% had not used the Internet for at least three months prior to the survey, and 3% had never used the Internet.
Some population groups are clearly less connected than others. 16% of people aged 65 to 74 and 18% of people with long-standing health problems do not use the Internet or, in any case, have not used it in the three months prior to the survey.
The demise of the desktop
The smartphone has become the ultimate device for Internet access: 92% of Internet users surf via their smartphone or mobile phone. They are almost always in the hands of 16-24-year-olds (99%), but their use decreases with age, with only 76% of Internet users aged 65-74 using them. The other most commonly used devices are the laptop (69%) and the tablet (35%), which have supplanted the desktop, which is now only used by 32% of internet users.
E-Commerce on the rise again
The use of e-commerce is increasing again. 65% of Belgians have ordered goods or services on the Internet in the last three months, i.e. 2 percentage points more than in 2022. This remains slightly lower than in 2021 when 66% of the population made purchases online, but is much higher than the 55% registered in 2019.
We are buying more and more medicines online
Almost one Belgian out of two (45%) has bought clothes, shoes or accessories online in 2023 and one out of five meal deliveries. But one category of goods that is becoming increasingly popular are medicines and food supplements: 18% of Belgians ordered them in 2023. This represents an increase of 3 points compared to last year and continues a clear upward trend.
Electronic identification is taking root
Finally, 77% of Belgians use advanced electronic identification, for example via an electronic identity card or the ITSME app: six out of ten for contacts with the authorities and more than a third for services offered by enterprises.
Purpose and brief description
This data collection from households and individuals aims to compile internationally comparable statistics from national indicators on the digital divide.
Moreover, the survey is subsidised by Eurostat, the European statistical office.
Field of research
The survey on ICT usage by households and individuals is coupled to the Labour Force Survey as a special ‘ICT and Internet’ module. A randomly selected person in the household answers all the questions, over both the situation of the household and his/her individual situation.
Data collection method and sample size
Data collection method
There are two data collection methods for the ICT survey among households and individuals since 2009: a web application and a paper form. When the LFS survey is completed, the interviewer selects among the household members on the basis of the birth dates who will have to answer the questions on ICT usage. The interviewer hands a paper form and a paid envelope over as well as a document with instructions and access codes for the web application. A reminder is sent to the households who didn’t answer within two or three weeks after the interviewer’s visit. Before 2009, the interviewer interviewed households orally following the LFS survey.
The sample of the ICT survey among households and individuals is coupled to the LFS survey. All households having taken part to the LFS survey are invited to answer the questions on ICT usage.
The response rate of the ICT survey is 67 % of the households who took part to the LFS survey. The response rate compared to the initial gross sample is 45 %.
The ICT survey is organised on a yearly basis.
Timing of publication
The data have to be sent to Eurostat by the beginning of October. The results are available for the general public by the end of the year.
Low-skilled people are people who have at best a lower secondary education diploma. Medium-skilled people have obtained an upper secondary education diploma, but no higher education diploma. High-skilled people have a higher education diploma.