Thursday, 6 August 2009

The British love affair with their communication gadgets

(By Richard Holway 8.00am Thursday 6th August 09) Ofcom has, today, published their annual Communications Market Report. It is, in my view, the best free (well, we the taxpayers pay for it!) report you are ever likely to get. You can get the full monty by following this link.

I’m sure I will refer to this report on many times in the future, but let me give you a quick summary of the main points:

UK consumers rate communications products so highly that they would give up almost everything before discarding their mobile phone, TV or internet connection. Only ‘personal hygiene products’ are rated higher!

But, as we have been saying for many years ‘More for Less’ rules. For example, we spend 25 minutes per day on line – up 9% on 2004 – but spend 6% less (in real terms) on doing it.

The real star is Mobile Broadband – 250,000 new connections in May 09 alone – almost twice the number in May 08. 1 in 10 households now have a mobile broadband connection. 8m people have accessed the internet from their mobiles – up 40% in a year. 1 in 6 16-34 year olds have access to a mobile broadband connection but fewer that 1 in 10 of those aged 55+ do. VOIP was also increasing dramatically.

25% of households use a digital TV recorder (like Sky+) and 23% use catch services like iPlayer from the BBC. The higher the use of such services, the higher the satisfaction levels with TV. Ie the more the viewer is in control of what he watches, the more enjoyable the experience!

But, beware. Although we still watch TV for 3hrs 45min per day, we are now doing other things at the same time. Most significantly surfing the internet. (I am guilty here as I now only watch TV with the remote in one hand and my iPod Touch in the other) Families now gather round the TV but with everyone doing different/multiple things at the same time. Researchers call this 'connected cocooning".

Radio listening has fallen 9%. But use of Spotify has soared. 900,000 use it for on average 30min a week. Clearly the advantage we get from having choice in TV (see above) applies to choosing our own playlists too.

Just to reinforce our view that Microsoft should buy Facebook as its portal to the Cloud, Ofcom has found that 50% of all UK internet users now use Facebook. 15m people use Facebook for 1hr 30min a week. Separately, ComScore has reported thsat FaceBook added 24m users in June taking it to 340m worldwide. That puts Facebook as the 4th most visited website in the world - behind Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

SIM-only deals now account for 20% of all mobile phone contracts (which now number 77m in total – ie MORE than one per UK citizen) as users hang on to their old phones but search out a cheaper deal. Something Nokia knows only too painfully. 70% of all mobile users said they were going to hang onto their current phone.

Excellent report and I commend you to read it.

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