Average Dutch person on line with a smartphone for 60+ hours a month

Dutch people are spending more and more time on the internet with their smartphones. On average, phone users' monthly time on line has gone from forty hours in 2016 to sixty-one hours in 2018. Facebook and Google account for the lion's share of that time: twenty-six hours between them. The stats come from Trends in Internet Use 2018 -- a major study undertaken for SIDN. Another eye-catching finding made by the researchers is that 80 per cent of Dutch people now sometimes choose to go internet free.

Internet shopping is still one of the main things people use their smartphones for: an average of three hours a month is devoted to shopping apps and websites, one hour more than two years ago. Strikingly, Dutch people are increasingly patronising webshops in other countries. So, for example, AliExpress is now the second most popular shopping app (after Bol.com), while Wish is at number 5.

New ways of searching

Another finding of the research is that smartphones are influencing how Dutch people search the internet. For example, location-based searching is on the rise: more smartphone users now go with Google Maps than with the traditional Google Search. The average website visit made from a smartphone is between two and three minutes. Because the visits are so short, the many different websites that people look at account for very little of the growth in smartphone users' on-line screen time. The additional time is mainly spent using apps. 

Voice hasn't caught on yet

Despite the hype surrounding voice search, the technology isn't yet being used much in the Netherlands. Only 3 per cent of respondents said they preferred voice searching. However, that may simply reflect the fact that the Dutch version of Google Assistant didn't come out until July. In the years ahead, voice technology is still expected to play a big role in the Netherlands. It's already commonplace in the US and China. 

Nearly 80 per cent sometimes go internet free

From the research, it seems that a large majority (79 per cent) of Dutch people sometimes like to go internet free and switch off their phones and other devices. Older people tend to do that more than younger people. Three out of ten respondents under the age of thirty are permanently on line and never let their phones out of their sight. Experts expect that choosing to go off line will remain a countertrend, with on-line time continuing to rise in the Netherlands. 

.nl is the most trusted extension

"It's no surprise that Dutch people are using their smartphones to access the internet more and more," says SIDN's CEO Roelof Meijer. "Since we started monitoring trends in internet use back in 2012, every survey has revealed a big jump in smartphone time. Phone users now account for half of all webshop traffic, for example. Although there's been a tendency to use the phone for looking rather than buying, an increasing proportion of actual purchases are now being made by phone as well."

Something else to come out of the survey is that Dutch people regard .nl as the most trustworthy internet domain. "Domain names are an increasingly important indicator of trustworthiness," adds Meijer. "When scanning search results, more than half of consumers look at the domain name to help decide whether they can trust an unfamiliar website. Only reviews and quality approval logos carry more weight."

Fifth trend survey

Over the last few months, SIDN has overseen its fifth biannual survey of trends in internet use. Research bureau GfK collected data from nearly four thousand consumers and more than 750 business decision-makers. In addition, 68 million records detailing the habits of internet users on the GfK Crossmedia Link / GXL panel were analysed. The volume of data involved made the survey one of the Netherlands' biggest ever studies in this field. A panel of six experts were also invited to comment on the findings of the analysis.




Marnie van Duijnhoven


+31 6 46 10 85 22


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