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Mobile Powers UK Internet Usage Growth

The United Kingdom is Western Europe’s leading digital nation in terms of the percentage of its population that accesses the internet regularly and the amount of time spent online by those internet users. A near-ubiquitous, multilayered web infrastructure is keeping those percentages high, and usage is expanding to a larger swath of the UK’s demographic segments and being accessed via a wider variety of devices.

“For the three-quarters of the UK population who are web users, the internet is everywhere,” said Karin von Abrams, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “UK Internet Usage: Top Trends in Europe’s Leading Digital Nation.” “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’s population—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, most notably smartphones and 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. Tablet usage is similarly on the upswing.

For marketers, increased mobile internet access in the UK will necessitate “creating strategies that make the best use of multiple platforms, but avoid irritating consumers with too many marketing messages,” said von Abrams.


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