Internet usage in Israel spikes amid coronavirus pandemic, study finds

More Israelis are going online for shopping, banking, making payments and general use.

Coming soon: Internet domain names in Hebrew (photo credit: PEXELS)
Coming soon: Internet domain names in Hebrew
(photo credit: PEXELS)
With the coronavirus pandemic causing a decline in retail shopping, more Israelis than ever are taking their shopping online, according to a new study, the Israeli financial news outlet Calcalist reported Wednesday.
The study, done by the nonprofit advocacy group Israel Internet Association, shows that a vast majority of Israelis go online for shopping, as well as for banking and other payment services, according to Calcalist.
While this coincides with a significant increase of Internet use among Israelis in general, it should be noted that the rise of online shopping in Israel is nothing new. In fact, according to prior studies by the IIA, it's been on the rise for years.
According to a similar study the organization conducted in 2017, almost two-thirds of Israeli Internet users (63%) shopped online. In 2020, that number jumped to 85%, Calcalist reported.
This is reflected in banking and payments as well. According to the study, before COVID-19, 89% of Israeli Internet users made payments online. Compare this to three years ago, when the number was only 23%.
The study also showed that 80% of respondents used online banking services, with the coronavirus pandemic seeing a rise of only 8% in this regard.
The survey also showed some interesting trends among Israeli Internet users, with more Israelis using social media networks than ever before. Specifically, more than half of respondents  (51%) said they check social media once a day, a jump from 36% in 2017.
However, it also showed how Israelis feel about their Internet connection, as well as the digital services on various different websites.
According to the study, only 15% of Israelis were very pleased with their Internet connection, and only 38% said that they were reasonably pleased.
In terms of digital services, 46% and 43% of respondents said they were very satisfied with their banks and their health insurance providers, respectively. The response was more critical for government sites, however, with the tax authority notably having only 10% of respondents being satisfied.
It should also be noted that the study showed a gap in Internet usage among Israelis, with a divide between Jews and Arabs. While 89% of the general population makes payments online, the study found that only 62% of Israeli-Arabs do so. On the other hand, while 51% of the general population checked social media once a day, this number was far higher among Israeli-Arabs, with 73% checking social media multiple times throughout the day.
"The ongoing crisis has illustrated in the clearest way possible that the Internet is a critical resource in order for the society and economy to function," Israel Internet Association CEO Yoram Hacohen explained, according to Calcalist.
"Due to coronavirus, the Israeli public has adopted digital usage patterns that can be seen in the quality and quantity of its usage, including utilizing the Internet for remote learning, remote work and completing routine activities in a more efficient way."