UK ‘one of the most connected countries in the world’- Google

12/06/2015

The UK is one of the most connected countries in the world, with 71% of Brits owning a smartphone compared to the European average of 61%, according to a major new study from Google.

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The findings, part of Google’s Consumer Barometer 2015, indicates that the average UK consumer owns 3.3 devices in 2015, up 10% from 2014, with 28% using five or more devices.

UK Fast Facts

• The future is mobile - 71% of British consumers own a smartphone and 60% use a search engine on a weekly basis via their smartphone

• Online video is big - 64% of people watch online video every week, up from 53% last year

• Always online - 85% of consumers are online at least once a day

• Multi-screening multiplies - British people have an average of 3.3 internet-connected devices per person, 10% higher than in 2014, and 64% of people multiscreen while watching TV

The free planning tool uses extensive data collected from over 400,000 respondents across 56 countries to provide insights into our online activities.

The research highlights changing patterns in how people around the world use the internet, their smartphones and how they search and shop online, and reveals some interesting trends about how UK consumers differ in how they research and buy offline and online, compared to other countries and age groups.

Key findings for the UK include:

• The UK is one of the most connected countries in the world:
o 71% of Brits have a smartphone compared to the European average of 61%
o The average UK consumer owns 3.3 devices in 2015, up 10% from 2014, with 28% using 5 or more devices

• It’s not just youngsters using smartphones and living their lives online:
o 92% of British consumers under 44 years old go online everyday
o In Israel 61% of people aged 55 and over use a smartphone (compared to 77% of 25-34 year olds), and in Sweden that number is a staggering 64%

• Global vs local: globally, 57% of us have bought something online from a foreign country
o In the UK, 4 out of 10 people using smartphones when looking for local information and 61% researching locally a day or less before purchase
o 40% of Brits shop in foreign countries to get better availability

• Multi-screening multiplies: More people are using devices while watching TV:
o 64% of Brits going online while watching TV. 63% use their smartphones to do so while 36% use a tablet or computer
o More than ⅘ internet users (82%) in Ireland go online on another device while watching TV (up from 61% last year)

Today, Google launches the Consumer Barometer 2015, the most comprehensive free tool for planners looking to understand and compare how people use the internet around the world. Entering its fifth year, it is the best tool of its kind in terms of size, scale, and the depth of questions covered, enabling users to compare digital, mobile, video and shopping habits across 56 countries, including tech-savvy Britain.

British consumers continue to lead Europe in mobile technology adoption. Nearly three-quarters (71%) have a smartphone compared to the European average of 61%, and 60% use search engines via their smartphone at least once a week, making it crucial for businesses to think mobile.

They also have more devices than ever, with the average UK consumer now owning 3.3 devices, up 10% from 2014. 51% own tablets and 75% own personal computers.

Naturally, given the number of devices owned, Brits are frequent internet users, with 85% going online at least once a day. That figure rises to 92% amongst those under 44 years old.

And with so many internet connected-devices at their fingertips, multi-screening is increasingly common. 64% of Brits go online while watching TV, with 63% using their smartphones to do this, and 36% using a tablet or computer.

Mobile internet access has also influenced how consumers shop. Today 59% of Brits research products online before they purchase offline. This compares to nearly a half (49%) researching offline before making a purchase online. A quarter of Brits (25%) research their purchases online only.

The effect of growing internet use and mobile penetration is particularly relevant for local businesses. Four out of 10 people use smartphones to look for local information, such as products and prices, and 61% research locally a day or less before purchase.

Peter Cory, Agency Sales Director at Google, commented: “Consumer habits are changing fast, making it challenging for brands to understand and predict how and when it’s best to reach them. In the UK alone, we’ve seen significant increases in the number of devices owned and that’s having a direct effect on the way consumers conduct their day-to-day lives - how they consume media, how they research products and how, when and where they buy. The updated Consumer Barometer will help marketers understand and compare changing consumer behaviours and better plan their local and international media strategies.”

Google created the Consumer Barometer to provide marketers with the latest consumer insights to support planning in a fast changing digital landscape. Anyone can use the free tool to create and download customised data and market-specific information. These can help users discover anything from: how often people go online, how many connected devices they may have, how people research and purchase online, the influence of online video on their shopping habits or the differences between generations and their online behaviour.

There are now 20 vertical sectors profiled within the Barometer which include: clothing and footwear, home appliances, flights, hotels, cosmetics and groceries. New vertical sectors will be added on an ongoing basis as Google extends the insights.

Two new topics have also been included - local search and international purchases - helping to provide an even deeper understanding of consumer research and purchases behaviour.

Alison Fennah, Executive Business Advisor for IAB Europe said: “As the voice of the digital business, proving the value of digital advertising via leading research is one of IAB Europe’s priorities. In a constantly evolving digital media landscape, increasing our understanding of consumer behaviour is increasingly important. The Consumer Barometer provides a plethora of insight into consumers' use of digital media, content and services which is fundamental for any local or global marketer.”

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