Irish twice as likely as EU peers to use internet-connected devices

Number of people who use accessories such as smart watches or fitness bands more than doubled since 2020

The number of people who use internet-connected accessories such as smart watches or fitness bands has more than doubled since 2020 in Ireland.

Half of those surveyed said they used the internet through a wearable device in 2022, according to figures published by Eurostat.

The numbers highlight the “growing importance” of internet-connected devices in modern life, as more than a quarter (26 per cent) of people in the European Union aged between 16 and 74 say they used smart watches, fitness bands, connected goggles or headsets, safety trackers, connected clothes or shoes and other internet-connected accessories in 2022.

The figure was twice that in Ireland, where 52 per cent said they used the internet through such a device in 2022, up from 21 per cent in 2020.


This was the second highest of any EU country, surpassed only by the Netherlands, where 55 per cent of people reported using a wearable device.

More than half (52 per cent) of EU residents in the same age category said they used an internet connected TV, a nine percentage point rise on 2020 figures.

Internet connected TV usage in Ireland is also higher than the overall EU figure, as 68 per cent of people said they connected to the internet through a TV in 2022, up from 38 per cent in 2020, up by 30 points on two years earlier.

Ireland had the third highest percentage of people who used the internet through connected TVs in the EU last year, tied with Sweden but below Malta (78 per cent) and Spain (69 per cent).

Despite the high increase in the use of internet-connected devices between 2020 and 2022, Eurostat highlighted that a “considerable number of people” reported not using any internet-connected devices in 2022.

Across the 27 EU member states, 63 per cent of people aged 16-74 said they have never used any of the internet-connected devices or systems. In Ireland, the figure was 46 per cent.

Of those across the EU who said they had not used any internet connected devices, 41 per cent cited the lack of necessity as the main reason, down just two percentage points on 2020.

The next most commonly cited reason for non-use was the associated cost (10 per cent) and concerns about the privacy and protection of personal data generated by such devices (8 per cent).

Ellen O'Regan

Ellen O’Regan

Ellen O’Regan is an Irish Times journalist.