The UK’s digital behaviour

Within the first few modules we’ve spoken a lot about Google.

Let’s dive into a broader look at the UK’s digital behaviour.

  • There were 66.11 million internet users in the United Kingdom at the start of 2023, with internet penetration around 97.8%.
  • The UK was home to 57.10 million social media users in January 2023, equating to 84.4% of the total population.
  • A total of 87.66 million cellular mobile connections were active in the United Kingdom in early 2023, with this figure equivalent to 129.6% of the total population
  • 86.4% of the United Kingdom’s total internet user base (regardless of age) used at least one social media platform in January 2023.
  • At that time, 51.6% of the UK’s social media users were female, while 48.4% were male
  • On average, people aged between 16-64 spend 5hours and 47mins a day using the internet (88.9% access the internet via their mobile phone)
  • The top five reasons for using the internet are:
    • Finding information (66.5%)
    • Researching how to do things (58.8%)
    • Staying in touch with friends and family (58.8%)
    • Keeping up to date with news and events (55.6%)
    • Researching products and brands (50.8%)

We’ve talked a lot about the growth and importance of mobile devices from a search perspective. Mobile and laptop devices are both heavily used to access the internet but tablet (4.70%) and other devices such as gaming consoles are seeing good growth – especially amongst younger audiences.

Chrome is the top browser with 49.53% share of the market, Safari is second with 32.82% with other browsers such as Microsoft Edge (8.69%), FireFox (2.61%) and Android (0.96%) trailing behind.

Despite holding the largest market share for Search engines – Google is NOT the most visited website in the UK – that honour goes to…. YouTube!

Top five (based on monthly visits)

  • YouTube – 2.47B
  • Google – 2.43BN
  • BBC.CO.UK – 479M
  • Facebook – 412M
  • Wikipedia – 293m

Outside the top five you will see a number of the larger platforms – Amazon (276M) alongside some of the more established editorial titles such as Reddit (251M), Daily Mail (203M) and The Guardian (137m).

Search engines remain the most important channel for brand discovery (how people find a brand or product).

35.8% of internet users still use a good ol’ fashioned search engine to find what they need but the gap is closing.

TV ads remain an important marketing channel with 34.5% citing a TV spot as inspiration to find a brand, Word of mouth recommendations from a trusted friend or family member (33.1%) and online retail websites (31.6%) are also popular options.

And email remains high with 18%. Email is an important channel for discovery but even more important for getting those valuable and hard to reach customers back to your shop or website.