The upcoming London 2012 Summer Olympics is being billed as the most connected sporting event the world has ever seen. The United Kingdom has one of the world's most developed digital ecosystems -- the ICT, software and digital content sectors are estimated to be worth £100 billion combined.
According to the latest market study by eMarketer, the UK is considered a leading Digital Nation -- measured by the percentage of the British population that accesses the internet regularly, and the amount of time spent online by those internet users.
A near-ubiquitous, multi-layered web infrastructure drives increased adoption. Internet usage is expanding to all demographic segments and it's being accessed via a wider variety of wired and wireless digital devices.
"For the three-quarters of the UK population who are web users, the internet is everywhere," said Karin von Abrams, eMarketer senior analyst. "British consumers are accustomed to managing several web-enabled devices at once and experiencing simultaneous exposure to TV, mobile phones and the web."
According to eMarketer estimates, 74.2 percent of the UK population -- that's nearly 47 million people -- will go online at least once per month this year, primarily from home, but they will be using an expanded range of devices while there. In particular, they'll be using new smartphones and media tablets.
Mobile research company mobileSQUARED estimated there were more than 32 million smartphones in the UK in 2011 and expects that figure to double by 2015. eMarketer estimates more than 17 million in people in the UK will go online via mobile in 2012, and that number will rise to more than 20 million by 2015.
Media tablet usage is similarly on the upswing. For marketers, the trend of increased mobile internet access in the UK will mean "creating strategies that make the best use of multiple platforms, but avoid irritating consumers with too many marketing messages," said von Abrams.
The eMarketer report, entitled "UK Internet Usage: Top Trends in Europe's Leading Digital Nation," answers these key questions:
- How large is the UK online population in 2012?
- What proportion of UK internet users access the web via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets?
- How much does web usage vary according to age and gender?
- What are the most popular online activities among UK web users?
- Which major trends in UK internet usage are most relevant for marketers?