What Percentage Of 18-24 Year-Olds Engage In No Leisure-Time Activity Consumers Continue to Spend More Time Online

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Consumers Continue to Spend More Time Online

How does the increased consumption of the Internet affect the world we live in? The UK is spending more and more time online. Large audiences spend as much as 30 hours a week on the Internet, according to a report by uSwitch.com.

The report showed that on average we spend 2 hours on the Internet for work and 3 hours for leisure every day with about 3 hours a day during the weekend surfing for entertainment. Online usage is increasing in the younger age groups with 18-24 year olds spending 45 hours a week online.

The way we access the Internet is also changing. The growth of the mobile Internet, due to more advanced 3G mobile phones, increases the amount of time spent online. Users have more options to access the web from mobile devices wherever they are.

Faster connection speeds and increased broadband coverage across the UK mean that home broadband use also continues to rise. Ofcom research into broadband speeds in the UK found average broadband speeds in the UK in April 2009 were 4.1Mbit/s and that 70% of broadband users receive average speeds of more than 2Mbit/s. The increased connection speeds allow for faster load times and the ability to stream better quality content such as HD videos.

The effect on Advertising Expenditure

The increasing amount of time spent online is having an impact on where advertisers spend their marketing budgets. Internet advertising spending has now overtaken television. More and more, well-known brand advertisers are realizing the potential of the internet as a means of reaching mass audiences.

Big brands like Kellogg’s are waking up to the potential audiences that online can bring. Kellogg’s spent £58m on TV advertising from August 2008 – July 2009 and only spent just over £300k online. But this is about to change with the appointment of dedicated digital positions to come up with a strategy for 2010. This indicates that large advertisers are now tuning in to the benefits that online communications with customers can bring to a brand.

The seemingly late adoption of investment in online advertising by Kellogg’s is not surprising, as typically FMCG brands have found it difficult to come to terms with the digital landscape. This is because they failed to understand how it can fit into their overall marketing strategy. But the adoption of the majority of the UK moving online means that advertisers need to be where the audience is.

The convergence of TV and Online

More and more people in the UK are consuming TV online. Catch-up TV became popular in 2008, thanks to the BBC iPlayer and 4OD. Figures from Ofcom’s latest annual Communications Market Report show that 23% of households claim to watch programs online. This rises to 33% in 15-24 year olds.

There are two ways to watch TV online by streaming or downloading. If you stream, you watch directly from the broadcaster, like traditional TV. Programs can often be paused and rewound (unless they are “live”), but they are not saved to your computer. Downloaded programs are stored on your computer’s hard drive, and can be watched whenever you want, although many have digital rights management (DRM) protection that locks them after a set time, preventing you from watching them again.

Is TV consumption likely to move online only? This may happen in the future if more programs are broadcast exclusively online as in the case of England’s World Cup qualifier against Ukraine which, for the first time at the beginning of October 2009 was broadcast online without television coverage. The cost to watch the match started at £4.99 before 8 October rising to £11.99 until match day.

The general feedback from consumers was that this was too expensive for one match and it alienated pub spectators and fans with slow internet connections. But there will undoubtedly be more events in the future that are not broadcast on television and are only shown on the Internet.

The growth of social networks

Social networking is huge in the UK with Facebook the clear market leader accounting for 1 in every 7 page views in the UK. Facebook is the second most visited website in the UK after Google but is the clear leader in terms of pages viewed due to the site’s stickiness with more page views than Google, eBay UK and YouTube combined.

The success of Facebook is staggering with an 86% increase in visits in the past 12 months. Despite losing press coverage to Twitter recently, it continues to be the most popular social network accounting for nearly half of all social networking activity that occurs online, with no signs of its growth slowing down. Social networks are not only for a young audience, the fastest growth occurred among the 35-54 year olds, during Q1 of this year.

Children and their time online

Most children are completely comfortable using the Internet not knowing a world without it. A report from the London School of Economics (London School of Economics) discovered the following about 9-19 year olds using the internet. Children are very comfortable using the Internet with 40% using the Internet every day. Although time spent online tends to be shorter than with adults 19% spend up to 10% and 48% spend between 10 minutes and an hour. The activities they do on the Internet, ordered by popularity, are:

  • Get information about things other than schoolwork (94%)
  • Help with schoolwork (90%)
  • Send and receive emails (72%)
  • Play games online (70%)
  • Send and receive instant messages (55%)
  • Download music (45%)
  • Seek information about careers and further education (44%)
  • Search for information and buy online (40%)
  • Read the news (26%)
  • Chat rooms (21%)

I have no doubt that over time the use of the Internet will continue to grow. Our children use it from a young age, creating a generation of people who are comfortable performing various tasks online from entertainment to shopping. The continued improvement of Internet access lowers barriers to entry, and the ever-increasing technologies that use the Internet to make certain tasks easier and faster will all help continue the Internet’s growing expansion.

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