IAB Europe's 8th Mediascope Europe Report shows that the UK leads the way in terms of online penetration with the number of UK adults online increasing by 11% since 2010 and the number of hours spent online increasing by 17% during the same period.
The report also shows the UK consumer's willingness to connect to the internet using a variety of touchpoints. It confirms for example the widespread adoption of tablets in the UK with one in five (21%) UK adults going online using a tablet compared to an average of just 8% in the rest of Europe. UK adults are also more keen than their European counterparts to go online using using a games console with 21% choosing to do so compared to the European average of just 6%.
The report also demonstrates a sharp rise in the number of UK adults watching TV whilst online. Dual screening - as this practise is known - rose by 35% since 2010, up to 62% compared to a European average of 48% - proof that dual screening is now very much engrained in UK culture.
The mobile revolution
The UK population's eagerness to embrace mobile technology was another key theme to emerge from the report with 59% of UK adults owning a smartphone compared to a European average of 44%.
In an encouraging sign for the growing m-commerce industry, UK consumers were found to be far more open to making purchases via their mobile phones than their European counterparts. Some 19% of UK smartphone users had shopped online using a mobile web browser (compared to 11% in Europe) while 21% had shopped via an app (compared to just 9% in Europe).
Tablets changing media consumption patterns
UK consumers were also found to be very keen to consume media using tablets. The 21% of UK adults who go online using a tablet spent an average of 8.9 hours per week surfing the web with the device. This compares to the average of 8.8 hours UK consumers spend each week consuming newspapers (4.8 hours) and magazines (4 hours) combined.
Brand relationships grow via digital touchpoints
The internet was found to be a key brand building tool for UK consumers with 38% of UK internet users agreeing that the way a brand communicates online is important. Backing this up, almost half (47%) of all UK internet users were found to often visit the websites of their favourite brands.
Beyond this, the medium was seen to play a key role in UK consumers' purchase decisions. Some 59% of all UK internet users stated that the internet helps them choose better products and services.
Social media as a brand building tool
Social media was found to be a key driver in the internet's ability to build brands. A quarter (24%) of UK internet users were more likely to buy a product of a brand that they follow on a social networking site while 65% admit to having "liked" or become a friend of a brand on a social network.
On the flipside, looking at UK internet users' social media activity offers some stark lessons to brands as to what can happen when they get brand communication wrong. Some 40% of UK web users have "unfriended" a brand on a social network, 59% have complained directly using social media, while 26% have been compelled to create a group to boycott a brand or product.
The IAB UK’s Research Manager Hannah Bewley comments: “The IAB Europe’s Mediascope research contains a wealth of data into online media consumption habits in the UK across a number of key areas and provides a really useful benchmark against the rest of Europe. Some of the trends since the last report in 2010 are fascinating. For example the study shows that dual screening is now an engrained part of UK life, with 62% of UK adults going online whilst watching TV compared to 48% across Europe.
“With online adspend up by 14.4% on a like for like basis, between 2010 and2011, brands and media companies in the UK are clearly taking notice of the need to ensure that the online experience they offer consumers is fully integrated into their wider marketing mix.”
Background and methodology
The Mediascope Europe study began in 2003 when it covered five markets; that grew to 10 in 2004, 15 in 2010 and 28 in 2012. Trend data is available for both 10 and 15 countries. Survey fieldwork took place in 28 European markets - UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine – in February 2012. An Omnibus + Online methodology was used across all countries. Quotas ensured that representative samples were achieved in each Market. Quotas on age, gender, education and regional distribution were applied.
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