Press release №1944
07.04.2017
WITHOUT THE INTERNET

IN BRIEF

  • The share of Russian Internet users makes up 75%
  • Most of Russians use the Internet to communicate with relatives (64%), to read news (60%), to watch movies or to play games (54%)
  • 27% of respondents report that their life will dramatically change, if Internet disappears

According to the VCIOM-Sputnik omnibus survey results, the life of every fourth Russian would dramatically change, if the Internet disappeared forever.

MOSCOW, April 7, 2017. The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the results of a survey devoted to the characteristics of the Internet use in Russia.

The share of Russian Internet users keeps increasing year by year: in 2017 it makes up 75% compared to 51% in 2011 (data from the first quarter). Approximately 90% of Russians aged 18-24 use the Internet almost every day. According to VCIOM-Sputnik daily survey data, the length of Internet usage is 9 years in Russia.

More than half of Russians use the World Wide Web to communicate with friends and relatives (64%), to read news (60%) and for entertainment (54%). Every second respondent takes courses or educate themselves online (49%) and carry out bank operations (46%). Least popular online activity (among the proposed ones) is purchasing goods and long-term services online (34%); 44% do not use the Internet to do that.  

About one-third of respondents face difficulties mastering the world wide web (it is “very hard” for 4% and “rather hard” for 26%); those who report so are mainly elderly respondents (7% and 54% among respondents aged 60 and over). When facing difficulties surfing the Internet, 31% of respondents try to tackle them by themselves (support services, forums, et cet.). Another way to solve the problem is to ask advice of younger relatives/colleagues/friends (29%).  “Elder friends” are perceived as less respectful (only 8% ask their advice). A further 17% ask friends of the same age for help. Thirteen per cent of respondents get advice from the IT professionals. 

If the Internet completely disappears, it will not touch off a panic among the public: 47% say nothing will change in their life; 26% say that the impact will be small. The Internet shutdown would be a big problem for a quarter of Russians (27%): 22% say their life will dramatically change but they will be able to adapt to the new situation; 5% cannot imagine their everyday life without Internet (37% and 10% among the 18-24-year-olds; 25% and 11% among residents of Moscow and St.Petersburg, respectively). 

The VCIOM-Sputnik initiative all-Russian survey was conducted on April 3-4, 2017, using stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of landline and mobile phone numbers operating in Russia, and involved 1200 respondents. Russians aged 18 and over took part in the survey. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 3.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

Results for 2011-2016 are based on household surveys.

Do you use the Internet? If yes, how often? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)
  1 qtr 2011 1 qtr2012 1 qtr2013 1 qtr 2014 1 qtr 2015 1 qtr 2016 1 qtr 2017
Almost every day 28 37 42 45 51 53 56
Several times a week 14 14 15 14 13 12 13
Several times a month 6 5 6 6 5 4 4
Occasionally but at least once every half a year 3 2 2 2 2 1 2
I do no use it 48 41 34 32 29 29 25
Don’t know 1 1 1 1 0 0 0
What do you the Internet for? (closed-ended question, one answer per each line, %)
  I use the Internet I do not use the Internet I do not do it
Communicating with friends, relatives 64 23 13
Getting news about the life in the city/country,  world news   60 26 14
Entertainment: movies, books, games 54 31 15
Education, self-education 49 32 19
Bank operations – transactions 46 34 20
Public services – processing papers, getting advice 38 40 22
Paying bills 38 40 22
Work, execution of professional duties 36 41 23
Buying goods and long-term services 34 44 22 
            Is it hard/easy for you to keep up with the Internet?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of Internet-users)
  Total respondents Aged 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-59 60 and over
Very hard 4 0 2 4 5 7
Rather hard 26 6 9 25 38 54
Rather easy 48 47 57 51 47 28
Very easy 19 47 30 15 6 2
Don’t know 4 0 2 5 4 9
If you face difficulties surfing the Internet, where do you seek advice?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of Internet-users)
  Total respondents Men Women
I am looking for information by myself – support services, forums 31 39 24
I ask advice of younger relatives, friends, colleagues 29 22 36
I ask advice of friends of my age 17 20 14
I ask advice of IT experts 13 12 14
I ask advice of elder relatives, friends, colleagues 8 5 11
Don’t know 2 2 1
How many years have you been using the Internet? (open-ended question, one answer, Internet user answers)
  Total respondents Moscow and St.Petersburg Million cities More than 500 ths inhabitants 100–500 ths inhabitants Less than 100 ths inhabitants Rural area
Average number of years 9 11 10 8 8 8 7
If the Internet disappears tomorrow, how much will it impact your everyday life? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)
  Total respondents Aged 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-59 60 and over
It will completely change my life; I don’t know how I will survive  without the Internet 5 10 9 5 3 1
It will considerably change my life but I will be able to adapt to it 22 37 29 28 20 10
It will not change much my life 26 29 30 25 31 18
It will not change anything in my life 47 24 32 42 46 71
Don’t know 0 0 0 0 0 0
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