11% of UK Households Own Tablets and Other Must Know Facts from Ofcom

Tablet_Penetration_UKThere’s nothing more frustrating as a marketer than conflicting research. Without delving deeply into the methodology, it’s difficult to know which source to believe.But one of the most reliable sources of media consumption and technology usage in the UK is Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report.The slight annoyance is the amount of time it takes to publish its findings – research is carried out at the end of Q1 but the results aren’t published until July/August – but it’s an extremely useful source of authority statistics that you can quote with confidence in any presentation.You can download the full report here but we thought we’d save you wading through its full 409 pages and pick out the 10 key insights for you.1.  Tablet ownership has increased more than five-fold in the past year, up from 2% of UK households in Q1 2011 to 11% in Q1 2012.This growth looks set to continue about 1 in 6 households intend to buy a tablet in the next year.Take up is highest amongst 45-54s (16%), households with children (16%) and those in the AB socioeconomic groups (19%) and higher-income groups (22% of those with £30k+ household income.)87% mainly use their tablet at home (2/3s have wifi only versions) and 74% use their tablet every day, or most days.Apple’s iPad is still the dominant brand with 57% of the UK market – a position which may well be enhanced by the upcoming launch of the iPad Mini.2.  5% of UK TV households own a smart TV – that is, a TV with built in internet connectivity. This figure is set to rise - smart TV set sales have doubled in the past year and now represent a fifth of all TV sales.In addition, 11% of respondents had connected their set to the internet via a games console and a further 11% via a laptop/PC2/3s of smart TV owners claimed to have used the internet connection but TV, rather than PC, related activities remained the most popular – like watching catch-up TV (51%), streaming programmes (42%) and streaming films (41%). Activities like social networking (25%) and online shopping (13%) were much less popular.3.  E-Readers have also increased in popularity with 10% of UK adults owning one E-reader users are more likely to be older (14% 35-64) and from the ABC1 socio-economic groups (15%).Clearly, most owners use their e-reader to read books, but a significant proportion (29%) have used it to read magazines or newspapers. And the majority of those books, newspapers and magazines are consuming at home rather than on the go.4.  39% of UK adults are now smartphone users an increase of 12% since Q1 2011. This is conflicts sharply with other previously reported sources that claim penetration of over 50%. We’re unsure as to the discrepancy but it may be down to whether the term ‘smartphone’ is respondent defined or interviewer defined.Take-up levels are highest among younger age groups (66% of 16-24s and 60% of 25-34s) and those in ABC1 households (46%).5.  The top 5 activities used regularly on a smartphone by GB adults are email (51%), internet surfing (44%), social networking (42%), taking photos/video (37%), and listening to music (35%). In addition, 33% of smartphone users claim to have checked into a location using their handset, while 12% claim to do this regularly and 23% had tweeted from their handset, with 13% of users claiming to do this regularly.More than half (57%) of smartphone users claim to have used their handset in some way when out shopping. The most common activities included taking a photo of a product (31%), making online price comparisons (25%), acquiring more product information by scanning bar codes (21%), reading product reviews online (19%) and researching product features (19%).6.  According to BARB, UK adults spent an average of 4.3 hours per day watching television in 2011, the same amount as in 2010 but up from an average of 3.8 hours in 2002. This steady viewing trend has been remarkably consistent amongst all age groups. For example, contrary to perception, since 2002 viewing has remained stable among 16-24s (2.8 hours per day) and has actually increased amongst the 55+ age cohort. The only group to see a decline is the 25-34s whose viewing has decreased from 3.5 to 3.3 hours per day since 2005.7.  Whilst TV remains the cornerstone of household entertainment, the growth in popularity of catch up TV services has slowed considerably.In Q1 2012, 37% of UK adults with an internet connected at home watched online catch-up TV – an increase of only 2% on Q1 2011. One fifth of UK adults with home internet claim to watch catch up TV at least once a week, with the service being most popular amongst 16-24s – 48% of those with internet at home use catch up services.Around 6% of UK adults used their mobile to watch TV, a substantial increase from 2% in Q1 2011, no doubt driven by the launch of BBC iPlayer, 4OD and Sky Go apps in the second half of 2011.8.  50% of UK adults lived in households which accessed social networking sites in Q1 2012.Access was greatest among the young (78% of 15-24s), the higher socioeconomic groups (57% of ABC1 households) and women (52% vs 48% for men).However, the growth of social networking has slowed year on year, increasing only 4 percentage points in the year to Q1 2012 compared to 10 percentage points in the previous year.9.  Facebook remained the dominant force in UK social networking, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of the entire online audience using the service. Between March 2011 and March 2012 the average time per visitor per month on the site was six and a half hours.The social network is also generates a significant amount of traffic to other sites including 24% of all referred traffic to YouTube (in contrast to Google’s 32%). 11% to the BBC, 7% to eBay and 4% to both Twitter and Wikipedia.Both Twitter (+24%) and LinkedIn (+14%) increased their unique audience between March 2011 and March 2012 and Google+, launched in June 2011, had attracted 2.5 million unique visitors by March.10.  One of the faster growers amongst the social networks was one of the most established, YouTube.While You Tube’s audience grew by only 6% to 20.8 million people in March 2012, the time per person on the site increased by an impressive 42% between March 2011 and March 2012, to 1.5 hours – perhaps a reflection of larger choice of long form content, like catch up TV, now available on the site.