There have been significant changes in the way people connect to the Internet in recent years – and PRimage always keeps apace with these trends, for our communications insights and for our client projects. So, Judy Viitanen has been reviewing the new statistic released today in the National Statistics Opinions Survey on how British consumers/individuals access the Internet and why.
It’s great news to know that19 million households in Great Britain now have an Internet connection! This represented 77 per cent of households, up from 73 per cent in 2010. The data is fascinating – and very encouraging for everyone like PRimage who do work in the social media arena. Judy and the PRimage team are especially interested in the insights that the data reveals as to extent to which young people communicate via social networking.
These stats are really valuable in that they give the most up-to-date picture yet of the growing role mobile is playing in the digital divide: 45 percent of the Internet-using population has taken to mobile devices to go online in the past year. And PRimage believe that the rise in usage among 16-24 year-olds is most impressive: 71 percent today are using mobile devices to go online, compared to 44 percent only a year ago. In the last 12 months, six million people accessed the Internet for the very first time on their mobile phones.
The figures also highlight how much smartphones and advanced feature phones, combined with low-cost data plans and WiFi, are transforming how the internet is consumed. It looks like the UK is standing out as one of the leaders in this sense.
PRimage also follows trends in the US in this area, and we have noted that although it’s not a 100%, like-for-like comparison, but as a point of reference, comScore has recently released data that showed that in the U.S. some 41 percent of consumers used the mobile web browsers on their handsets in the last three months.
Our PRimage comms work covers a lot of messaging and marketing on social media sites, so we were not surprised to see that social networking proved to be the most popular activity among 16 to 24 year old Internet users in 2011, with 91 per cent saying they took part in social networking on websites such as Facebook or Twitter.
However, we were encouraged that this was not an activity limited to the younger age groups, with almost one fifth (18 per cent) of Internet users aged 65 and over – indicating that they participated in social networking. In our view there’s a lot of opportunity to max this! Overall, social networking was more popular among women, at 60 per cent, than men, at 54 per cent.
Men were more likely to participate in professional networking over sites such as LinkedIn in 2011, with 16 per cent of male Internet users having used this online facility compared to just 9 per cent of women. It was most popular among those aged 25 to 34, with 18 per cent using these sites.
Other key stats of interest include:
- Using the Internet to sell goods or services, for example via auction sites such as eBay, saw large growth in 2011. Over 12 million people, at 31 per cent of Internet users, sold goods or services online, compared to 7.9 million (21 per cent) in 2010. Just under half of those aged 25 to 34 (45 per cent) used the Internet for this activity.
In 2011 almost half of Internet users connected to the Internet, using a mobile phone, while away from the home or office. There were 17.6 million mobile phone Internet users in 2011, representing 45 per cent of Internet users, compared to 8.5 million users (23 per cent) in 2009.
- Just over one in five (21 per cent) Internet users made telephone or video calls online in 2011. This activity is one which is not dominated by a specific age group, with older age groups showing similar patterns of use to the younger age groups. Of those aged 65 and over, 17 per cent used this technology, compared to 22 per cent of those under 24.
Overall, the UK has some 37.7 million Internet users at the moment. That means that nearly 17 million of us have used our mobile phones to access the mobile internet.
- Other “mobile” devices such as laptops and tablets are also making a big impact: 38 percent of people say they have used these kinds of devices to access the internet. That’s on top of mobile phone usage, by the way.
- WiFi is big: usage of hotspots has doubled in the last year to 4.9 million users (13 percent of internet users).
- People over the age of 65 are the least likely to use a mobile to access the internet—only eight percent of internet users in that age group have used mobile devices to do this. (A market opportunity?)
- In terms of what it is that people are doing when they go online, it looks like social networking is a key driver of usage. Among adults, 57 percent say they have used social networks online, compared to 43 percent a year ago. Among that much-coveted demographic of 16-24 year-olds, the number is amazingly high: 91 percent. To compare to the comScore, in the U.S., around 30 of mobile phone users in the country used their devices to access social networks.
GB Household Internet Usage
|Base: All GB households|
|type, GB, 2007 and 2011|
|Base: All GB households|
The use of wireless (Wi-Fi) hotspots also increased markedly with 4.9 million people using hotspots at hotels, restaurants, airports etc., compared to 0.7 million people in 2007.