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December 16, 2011

UK consumers prove to be leaders in online and mobile use

Ofcom reveals that global communications revenues grew by 3.4% with UK consumers leading the way

By Tineka Smith

Ofcom’s new International Communications Market report showed that global communications have grown, despite the economic turndown.The report compared the use of services in the UK and 16 comparator countries.

The study reveals that the UK was ranked higher than any other European country for online usage. 79% of UK internet users were shown to have ordered products and services online, in comparison to countries like Italy, with just a reported 27%.

The report also reveals that consumers in the UK also use their mobiles more to go online, watch TV online and play games on their phone more than other major countries. UK online shoppers also spent more time on retail websites with the average time of around 84 minutes in the beginning of 2011 compared to just 20 minutes with other countries like Poland and Italy.

A factor can also be that UK customers are paying lower prices for their communications than many of their global counterparts.

UK smartphone customers rose significantly between February 2010 and August 2011, nearly doubling with figures jumping to 46% from 24% the previous year. This was higher than many Southern european countries with France trailing behind at 35%, Germany at 32%, Italy at 40% and Spain with 45%. UK consumers using their mobiles to actually go online were higher than any other country in the study.

The UK also was led the way with 36% of consumers investing in digital video recorders (DVR). The UK came in second to the US where 41% of households own a DVR.

The increase in DVR’s goes in hand in hand with the TV viewing in the UK increasing over 7% since 2010, with the average person watching over 4 hours of TV per day.

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The Ofcom chief executive, Ed Richards says there is a large increase in internet related communications, especially within the UK:

"Across the globe people are embracing e-commerce and social media with enthusiasm. Our research shows that the UK communications market is performing well with prices, the range of services and innovation standing up well against international benchmarks," he said.

The report showed that Italy was the leader in visitors of social media sites with 91% reported ever visiting one and a quarter reporting they visit over five times a day. Only 79% of UK online users had ever visited a social media site and only one in five of that visit over five times a day. Although it was reported that 83% of UK consumers aged 18-24 visit social networking sites daily.

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