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Retailer John Lewis backs campaign to get new internet users online

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Multichannel retailer John Lewis is among the companies who have pledged to use the extra hour gained when the clocks go back next weekend to help people get online. The move is part of Race Online 2012’s Give an Hour campaign to get as many of the 8.7m UK adults who have never used the internet to do so.

The move is significant because the number of people who have never used the internet could represent a large expansion area for online retailers. Race Online puts the figure at 8.7m, for the UK. Compare that to the 30m who do go online, and this is a significant area for growth.

John Lewis, which sells online as well as through its stores, is running a series of events at shops around the country in October and November to encourage its customers, retired colleagues and community groups to find out how to use the internet.

The campaign aims to encourage all the 30m UK internet users to use their extra hour on October 30 to help someone online.

“There are still 8.7 million people in the UK who’ve never made a free Skype call, explored and expanded their interests or got a great deal online,” said UK digital champion Martha Lane Fox. “Yet, it’s impossible to imagine life without the web for anyone who uses it regularly”.

“We live in an age when ‘digital’ is a vital life skill: as basic as knowing how to read and write. 90% of new jobs require it: you’re 25% more likely to get work when you have web skills and once in work you’ll earn up to 10% more. It’s simply unacceptable that so many people are still unable to benefit from what the web can offer.”

John Lewis will be holding events for internet beginners at its shops, including Peterborough and Bluewater, during October and November.

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