How do people in the UK spend their time online?


A huge portion of the search industry is based out in the US, which stands to reason really. The major search engines - Google, Bing and Yahoo were founded across the pond and still operate from their headquarters in the various technology districts of the country (the Silicon Valley area of California, and Seattle for example).

Whilst the organisations do have offices within the UK, any major developments relating to the search industry are usually rolled out or launched in the US, before they make their way across and into our systems. To demonstrate the point, I'll give you an example. The Yahoo/Microsoft partnership which saw Microsoft Bing power the Yahoo search engine has first been introduced in the US, meaning us Brits have to endure the poor results Yahoo returns for a little longer!

Facts and Figures

So, when facts and figures relating to UK web usage and search behaviour are published, we get pretty excited, as they offer us more of an insight into how our actual markets behave - as opposed to data which relates to US markets.

Ofcom carries out survey

Government regulator Ofcom, conducted a survey in order to uncover how central media and communications are to our lives. It found that UK consumers spend approximately 45% of their time watching TV, using mobile phones or other communication devices. It also appears that we are now sending four times as many texts per day than we were in 2004, whilst spending nearly a quarter of our time on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter - which is huge when you think about it.

We're getting smarter...

Of course, as you might expect, smartphone ownership has increased dramatically too, and now, over 25% of UK residents have one - which is more than double the total from 2008. The younger generations have been pretty pivotal to these changes, and the data indicates that this portion of the population are highly skilled in using a great deal of different media, at the same time. Watching TV, whilst using mobile devices to send email and browse the web is now commonplace.

Whilst we're on the subject of mobile web browsing, close to 1 million new users began surfing the Internet through their mobile devices during the first quarter of 2010, meaning over 13 million now do it, making this the fastest growing mobile media activity.

How does this affect us?

So, what does all of this mean and how can we use this information to benefit us? Well, if you're not already on the social media bandwagon, it's pretty important that you make the jump and invest in creating some sort of strategy now, before it's too late. More and more people are signing up to social media platforms, and more and more time is being spent engaging with other people, brands and organisations through this channel. Your competitor could be taking your customers from you, just because they're using Twitter and you're not!

Mobile marketing might also be worth considering. With such a large portion of the population having access to their own mobile device, and with more texts being sent now than ever before, the potential for your brand to make an impression may be huge.

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