UK social media use drops slightly- but shopping soars


In the UK, social networking remains the most popular single activity, but the proportion has slipped slightly, according to new data.

The study, from Experian, indicates that traffic to the likes of Facebook and Twitter accounted for 22% of time online, compared to 25% in 2011.

TIn terms of time per 'Internet hour' Experian found that found that 13 minutes of every hour online in the UK is spent on social networks and forums,while Brits are also prolific online shoppers, spending 10% (6 minutes) of all time online shopping, according to new research.

The research was based on anonymous interactions of 25 million internet users worldwide, 8 million of which fall in the UK.

Data also shows that time spent on social media networks proportionate to other online activities is also on the decline globally, with all three key markets showing declines of up to three percent.

This highlights the rise in access via 3G and 4G networks as consumers move to access their social networks on the go.


Global comparison

In North America, figures are similar with 16 minutes spent on social media in the US, nine minutes on entertainment and five minutes on shopping. Australian Internet users spend 14 minutes on social sites, nine on entertainment and four minutes shopping online.

Across all three markets, time spent shopping online grew year-on-year, but the UK emerged as having the most prolific online shoppers, spending proportionally more time on retail websites than online users in North America or Australia. British Internet users spent 10 per cent of all time online shopping in 2012, compared to nine per cent in the US and six per cent in Australia. This was in part due to a bumper Christmas season in the UK where 370 million hours were spent shopping online, 24 per cent higher than the monthly average.

Consumption of news content also increased across all three markets with Australian users emerging as the most voracious consumers of news online. Six per cent of all time spent online in Australia in 2012 was on a news website, compared to five per cent in the UK and four per cent in the US.

Meanwhile, the time spent on social media proportionate to other online activities declined across all three regions. The US, which has been the most dominant market for social media consumption in the last three years dropped from 30 per cent of all time spent online to 27 per cent. In Australia time spent on social dropped from 27 per cent to 24 per cent whilst in the UK it dipped from 25 per cent to 22 per cent year-on-year. This highlights the rise in access via 3G and 4G networks as consumers spend increasingly more time online whilst on the move.

James Murray, Digital Marketing Manager at Experian Marketing Services commented: “The online landscape is constantly changing and we’ve seen some pretty dramatic shifts in consumer behaviour across different geographic regions and in the various vertical markets. Consumers are changing the way they interact online and the rise of 3G and now 4G mobile internet access means more visits are being made on the move, particularly in social and email. As brands become increasingly global entities it’s more important than ever to understand the differences between regional online behaviours so that marketing campaigns can be tailored for better and more effective brand engagement.”


Experian Hitwise is an online analytics tool which monitors online interactions of 25 million Internet users worldwide. Experian Hitwise monitors the total monthly visits to 170 online categories as well as the average visit time to websites in these categories. By multiplying total visits and average visit time together it is possible to calculate the total number of hours spent on each category in the UK, US and Australia. Data includes consumer internet visits via desktop, laptop and mobile devices made on wifi connections but excludes 3G and 4G roaming mobile internet usage. Data regards visits to websites only. Other internet usage (such as connecting to play games online via video games consoles) is not included in these figures.


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