UK leads world for online shopping and video- Ofcom

17/12/2012

Shopping online and video viewing is more popular in the UK than any other country in the world, with uptake being driven by mobile and tablet devices, according to a new report from Ofcom. The body claims findings from its International Communications Market Report, based on research across 17 major countries, prove the UK is becoming "one of the first all-digital" nations.

Online video trends

UK consumers are the most likely, globally, to access TV content over the internet, with almost a quarter (23%) of UK web users claiming to do this every week with catch-up services including BBC iPlayer, Sky Go and 4OD driving the trend.

The US ranked second with 17% and Spain was in third with 16%.

People in the UK watch more than four hours (242 minutes) of TV every day on average, with only the US (293 minutes) and Italy (253 minutes) watching more.

Smart TVs are now owned by 15% of UK consumers, while the UK's obsession with technology also means the country has one of the highest penetrations of smartphones at 57%.

Meanwhile, just under one in five (19%) of the population now owns a tablet computer.

The high take-up of mobile devices has resulted in UK consumers downloading more data on their mobiles and tablets than any other nation surveyed.

In December 2011, the popularity of social networking, streaming videos, web browsing and downloading music in the UK led to the average mobile connection using 424MB of data across the month.

The UK came top in terms of data usage, ahead of Japan in second place with 392MB of data and the US in sixth with 319MB, according to independent data.

An Ofcom spokesman revealed that independent data was used for this metric because Ofcom's own data would not be comparable across different markets.
The research found one sixth (16%) of all website traffic in the UK was now via a mobile device, which is the highest in Europe.

The boom in mobile traffic, which has resulted in over a fifth (23.1%) of UK consumers using their devices to visit retail sites, has helped the UK become the heaviest ecommerce spenders per head, with average spend now £1,083, up 14% from £950 in 2010.

James Thickett, director of research at Ofcom, said: "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."

Shopping trends

UK consumers have now broken the £1,000-a-year spend barrier on internet shopping – more than any other country in the research.

In 2011, the per-head spending on e-commerce was £1,083 in the UK, up 14% from £950 in 2010. Australia spends the second highest at £842, with Sweden third at £747.

UK adults also like to shop on the move. Over a fifth (23.1%) of UK smartphone users use their device to visit retail websites – the highest level out of the five largest European countries. Germany is second with 22.6%.

Mark Haviland, MD of Rakuten LinkShare commented: “The fact that Brits are spending more online compared to the rest of the globe shows our huge appetite for internet shopping and brands can clearly see the value of the online and mobile channels as a result. The huge amount of mobile web traffic reveals that consumers are taking advantage of their connected devices to browse and buy.

While it is important to have a mobile strategy in place, marketers and brands should also remember that the mobile purchase journey does not exist in isolation. A consumer will often go on a non-liner journey while making a decision to buy, which could touch the online, in-store and mobile worlds multiple times. Brands must keep this purchase journey in mind and ensure the consumer receives a seamless shopping experience. Brands can work with a CPA (Cost Per Acquisition) network to ensure they encourage consumers to act by offering engaging and powerful content, both online and on mobile, encouraging them to take that final leap and buy, whichever channel they are on.”

Adam Stewart, Marketing Director, Rakuten’s Play.com commented: “Interesting to read the report from Ofcom today stating that 16% of all web traffic in the UK was from mobiles, tablets or other connected devices - more than any other European country.

It’s certainly a trend that we’ve seen echoed on Rakuten’s Play.com, where we have seen nearly 120% increase in traffic from mobile and tablet devices over the last 12 months. We also find that Mobile browsing surges on Monday morning from 7-8am and the pattern of browsing from bed or on the early morning commute is echoed throughout the week, with the highest levels of mobile browser activity occurring between 6 – 8 a.m. Data also shows that shoppers are most likely to click through on deals via their mobile during this early morning timeframe.“

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