The UK and Denmark are the biggest web shoppers amongst EU countries, according to new research. The Office for National Statistics has published a snapshot of Britain's internet habits, how they have changed in recent years, and how they compare with the rest of the Europe. Over three-quarters of adults (76%) accessed the internet daily [...]

The UK and Denmark are the biggest web shoppers amongst EU countries, according to new research.


The Office for National Statistics has published a snapshot of Britain's internet habits, how they have changed in recent years, and how they compare with the rest of the Europe.
Over three-quarters of adults (76%) accessed the internet daily in 2014, according to new figures published today by ONS. This has more than doubled from the 35% recorded in 2006.
Household trends
Overall, 84% of households have some kind of internet connection, up from 9% in 1998, when this series began.
Nearly three-quarters of adults (74%) bought goods and services online in 2014. Clothes were the most popular online purchase, bought by 49% of adults.
Over half of all adults (55%) used the Internet to read or download the news, newspapers or magazines in 2014, compared with only 20% of adults in 2007.
In 2014, 68% of adults accessed the internet using a mobile device, with this number rising to 96% for those aged 16 to 24.
Social media sites were accessed by over half of all adults (54%), with 91% of 16 to 24 year olds doing so.
The full ‘Internet Access – Households and Individuals 2014’ statistical bulletin is available here:
Figure 1: Purchases made over the Internet in the last 12 months, % of 16+ population, Great Britain, 2014
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Business trends
As well as consumer habits, business sales offer insights into the digital economy. E-commerce includes any form of electronic business transaction, such as website sales and electronic data interchange. Its importance to the UK economy is highlighted by the value of its sales, which reached £492billion in 20123. This was a 47% increase on its 2008 value of £335 billion, and equal to 18% of total non-financial business turnover in 2012-4.
In contrast to GDP, which fell by 5.2% in 2009, e-commerce sales continued to grow during the downturn (11.8%). The pace of growth then increased in 2011, but the drivers behind this changed. Figure 2 looks at the contribution from various industries to growth in e-commerce sales, which will depend on both the growth in an industry and the size of that industry. In 2009, the value of e-commerce sales increased by 11.8%, driven largely by a contribution of 11.1 percentage points from wholesale. By 2011, this contribution fell to 3.5 percentage points, while the contribution from manufacturing increased to 7.2 percentage points (having been negative in 2009).
Figure 2: Contributions to growth in the value of e-commerce sales by industry, percentage points, 2009 to 2012
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Source: Office for National Statistics
The growth of e-commerce sales slowed to 1.6% in 2012. Wholesale and manufacturing, which had made large positive contributions to growth in the two previous years, contributed -2.1 and 0.3 percentage points respectively.
Despite these changing contributions to growth, the overall composition of e-commerce sales in 2012 remained largely unchanged compared with 2008. Wholesale comprised the greatest portion of e-commerce sales in 2012 (at 35%), followed closely by manufacturing (at 32%).
This ,in part, reflects the size of these industries as a proportion of non-financial business economy turnover, but also reflects the importance of e-commerce to these industries: around a third of turnover in Manufacturing, for example, was accounted for by E-commerce in 2012.
European trends
The relationship between consumers and businesses interaction with the digital economy is captured, in part, by Eurostat data on the percentage of enterprises selling online5, and the percentage of adults6 who made an internet purchase in the last year, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: The percentage of enterprises selling online, and the percentage of adults (aged 16-74) who made an internet purchase in the last year, EU countries, 2012
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Source: Office for National Statistics