IDC: Home Office Internet Use on the Rise

SAN FRANCISCO (07/24/2000) - The number of U.S. home office PC households with Internet access has risen significantly, according to a recent study by market research company International Data Corp. (IDC).

IDC saw the percentage of Internet active home offices swell to 81 percent at the end of 1999 up from 26 percent at year-end of 1996. The firm expects the number of Net-enabled home offices to reach 92 percent by 2004, pointing out a number of reasons for the dramatic increase.

A move to the Web can not only reduce some of the logistical limitations traditionally presented by a home office but also provide a chance for expansion into previously inaccessible territory, noted Merle Sandler, a senior analyst with IDC's Home Office market research program. In particular, Sandler sees an opportunity for a small business to reduce many of its communication headaches to the point that a global presence via the Internet becomes a real possibility.

With Internet-ready PCs becoming commonplace and high-speed connections now readily available, IDC noted that most of the tasks performed out of a home office pose few difficulties for individuals with the right tools. While cable modem and DSL (digital subscriber line) connections accounted for 3.4 percent and less than 1 percent respectively of 1999 U.S. home offices, IDC claimed that these numbers will grow to 15 percent and more than 23 percent respectively by 2004. This trend towards broadband connections could push the usage of traditional dial-up connections in home offices down to 55 percent in 2004 -- a sizeable drop from the 1999 figure of 95 percent.

For corporate home workers, Sandler said that improving Internet access will remove some of the hassles of keeping in touch with corporate personnel and using company tools. As much of the data and file-sharing operations continue to place high demands on bandwidth capabilities, the improving technology could make a home office more appealing. In addition, Sandler continued to note that income-generating home offices will also benefit from revenue-producing functions enhanced by Internet access.

IDC's report -- Home Office on the Internet: Forecast and Analysis, 1999-2004 -- examined the Internet usage of income-generating and corporate home office households.

IDC, based in Framingham, Massachusetts, can be reached at +1-508-872-8200 or at http://www.idc.com/.

IDC is a subsidiary of International Data Group Inc., the parent company of the IDG News Service.

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