The efficacy of the internet as a communications device capable of
reaching all social classes is increasing dramatically, according to
research that should help to allay fears of the development of an
The disparity between the proportion of people from the social
classifications C2DE in the population overall and among regular
internet users, has halved in the past year, according to the latest
information from Continental Research. The proportion of women using the
internet has also increased.
The research found the percentage of internet users from C2DE grew from
21 per cent in July last year to 35 this year. The percentage in the
population overall is 50.
At the same time women, who comprise 51 per cent of the overall
population, are up from 40 to 44 per cent of internet users.
Grace Fodor, director of internet-specialist PR firm the Porter Novelli
Convergence Group, said: 'We are seeing internet penetration following
the same life cycle that new technology generally does - moving into the
mass market - and the potential for communications dialogue from a PR
perspective has expanded greatly as a result.'
'What is really important from a PR perspective is that it allows you to
go direct to the consumer and that is increasingly possible with people
from the C2DE groups as well as, say, young men. It is fantastic,' she
The research found that the breakdown of home net users by age was
relatively static with a slight decrease in the 35-to-54 age bracket and
a slight increase in the over-55s.
The under-44s are still over represented among internet users,
constituting 67 per cent compared to the 52 per cent they comprise in
At the same time, the total number of internet users jumped 33 per cent
in the year to July 2001 from 13 million to 17.3 million.