Ofcom: UK leads the way in mobile data use

The UK has one of the highest penetrations of smartphones at 58 percent, while just under one in five (19 percent) adults have a tablet computer, according to research from communications regulator Ofcom.

Ofcom also found that UK consumers are using laptops, smartphones and other mobile connected devices to access the internet more often than other countries. It found that half (51 percent) use a laptop most often to connect to the internet, while 6 percent prefer smartphones and 6 percent other connected devices.

Only 37 percent use a desktop computer as their most frequent means of accessing the internet.

For the first time, said Ofcom, UK consumers are downloading more data on their mobiles and tablets than any other major nation, ahead of Japan in second place and the US in sixth place.

One sixth (16 percent) of all website traffic in the UK was on a mobile, tablet or other mobile connected device, higher than any other country in Europe. Four in ten (40 percent) of UK adults now use their mobile phones to visit social networking sites, while among 18-24 year olds almost two-thirds (62 percent) do so - more than any other major country.

Internet shopping is also now more popular in the UK than any other major country, and this is increasingly driven by the use of mobile devices. UK consumers have now broken the £1,000-a-year spend barrier on internet shopping.

In 2011, the per-head spending on e-commerce was £1,083 in the UK, up 14 percent from £950 in 2010. Australia spends the second highest at £842, with Sweden third at £747.

UK adults also like to shop on the move. Over a fifth (23.1 percent) of UK smartphone users use their device to visit retail websites, the highest level out of the five largest European countries. Germany is second with 22.6 percent.

In November it was found that almost three-quarters (73 percent) of UK CIOs working in retail want more technology in shops to help sales in the run-up to Christmas.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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