UK is a nation of data-hungry net shoppers, says survey

  • 13 December 2012
  • From the section Technology
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Facebook on a mobile phone
Image caption Mobile data use is driven by social networking, the report finds

Internet shopping is more popular in the UK than in any other major country, a survey from regulator Ofcom suggests.

Consumers in the UK spend an average of £1,083 a year on internet shopping, compared with Australia which spends the second highest at £842, it said.

The UK's fondness for net shopping is, in part, driven by mobile devices.

UK consumers are also downloading more data from their mobiles than any other nation, according to the survey.

The study also indicated that:

  • In December 2011 the average UK mobile connection used 424MB (megabytes) of data, higher than Japanese users who averaged 392MBs.
  • 16% of all web traffic in the UK was from mobiles, tablets or other connected devices - more than any other European country.
  • Four in ten UK adults now access Facebook, Twitter and others social networks via their mobiles.
  • For 18 to 24-year-olds the figures is even higher, at 62%.

The findings form part of Ofcom's seventh International Communications Market Report, which looks at the take-up, availability, price and use of broadband, landlines, mobiles, TV and radio across 17 major countries.

Brits are also the most likely to watch TV-on-demand and use digital video recorders, the report suggests.

Big TVs

UK consumers are embracing the new generation of internet-enabled TVs with 15% owning such a set, compared to 10% in the US.

Our TVs are also getting bigger - more than a third of TVs sold in the first quarter of 2012 were between 33in (84cm) and 44in (112cm).

The UK remains the cheapest place to buy communication services, although the gap is narrowing.

Ofcom said a basket of communication services - including fixed-line telephone, mobile calls and texts and fixed and mobile broadband and TV - costs on average £146 in the UK.

That was £32 cheaper than in France, £101 cheaper than Italy and £168 cheaper than the US.

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