Ofcom Reveals UK Online Shoppers are World Leaders

News Article - Thursday, 13 December 2012 11:50

By: Kerry Butters Category: Connectivity

Consumers in the UK are ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to online shopping, an Ofcom survey has revealed. This has been driven in part by the smartphone and tablet explosion which sees consumers shopping wherever they are.

The report also showed that the UK is embracing connected TV devices with the latest technology, ahead of Japan and the US and are at the forefront of using such new technology such as smart TVs and DVRs. Catch-up TV services are also the most popular in the UK as consumers increasingly use them on smartphones and tablet devices.

The findings of the survey are published in Ofcom’s seventh International Communications Market Report which "examines take-up, availability, price and use of broadband, landlines, mobiles, TV, radio and post across 17 major countries”.

Interestingly, the report also shows that the UK "has one of the highest penetrations of smartphones, at 58%, while just under one in five (19%) has a tablet computer”. 51% of consumers use a laptop to access the net, whilst 6% use smartphones and other connected devices; just 37% use a desktop PC.

This means that for the first time, the UK is leading the way in data downloads than any other major nation, with a sixth of all web traffic being used on phones, tablets or other connected devices such as consoles and smart TVs, higher than any other country in Europe.

40% of UK adults now use their phone or tablet to access social networking sites, whilst amongst the younger generation (18-24yrs) 62% do, more than any other country in the world. The UK lead the way in internet shopping too, spending more than £1000 per year each on ecommerce; this has risen 14% since 2010. More than a fifth use a smartphone to shop online.

The research also found that the UK is the cheapest in the EU for communications, although other countries are now catching on to the net’s potential.

James Thickett, Ofcom’s Director of Research, said: "Our research shows that UK consumers continue to benefit from one of the most advanced markets for communications products and services.

"Our research reveals that the UK leads the way in using the internet on the move. Increasingly, it's mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that are driving this growing demand for data – and in the UK it seems to be social networking sites that are behind this in particular.

It will be interesting to see what next year’s figures will be, especially in the aftermath of the festive season and the current ‘tablet wars’. For enterprise it would point to further adoption of BYOD schemes as more of the UK public take mobile devices to their hearts.

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