How Much Does The Average 45 Year Old Have Saved Consumers Continue to Spend More Time Online

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Consumers Continue to Spend More Time Online

How is the increase in Internet consumption affecting the world we live in? Britons are spending more and more time online. According to a report by uSwitch.com, the general public spend up to 30 hours a week on the Internet.

The report showed that on average we spend 2 hours on the Internet for work and 3 hours for leisure daily, with approximately 3 hours daily on the weekend surfing for entertainment. Online use is increasing in younger age groups, with 18-24 year olds spending 45 hours a week online.

The way we access the Internet is also changing. The growth of mobile internet, due to more sophisticated 3G mobile phones, is increasing the amount of time spent online. Users have more options to access the web from portable devices wherever they are.

Faster connection speeds and increased broadband coverage in Britain mean that home broadband usage also continues to rise. Ofcom’s research into broadband speeds in Britain found that average broadband speeds in the UK in April 2009 were 4.1 Mbit/s and that 70% of broadband users receive speeds averages of more than 2 Mbit/s. The increased connection speed allows for faster load times and the ability to play higher quality content such as HD videos.

The impact on advertising spending

The increase in time spent online is having an impact on where advertisers spend their marketing budgets. Online ad spending has now overtaken television. Increasingly, well-known brand advertisers are realizing the potential of the web as a means of reaching a mass audience.

Big brands like Kellogg’s are waking up to the potential audience online can bring. Kellogg’s spent £58 million on television advertising from August 2008 to July 2009 and spent just over £300,000 online. But this is about to change with the appointment of dedicated digital heads to strategize for 2010. This indicates that major advertisers are now aware of the benefits that online communications with customers can bring to a brand.

Kellogg’s seemingly late adoption of Internet advertising investment is no surprise, as FMCG brands have struggled to embrace the digital landscape. This is because they haven’t understood how it can fit into their overall marketing strategy. But the adoption of most of the UK’s online movements means that advertisers need to be where the audience is.

The convergence of television and the network

More and more people in the UK are consuming TV online. Catch-up TV became popular in 2008, thanks to BBC iPlayer and 4OD. Figures from Ofcom’s latest annual communications market report show that 23% of households claim to watch programs online. This rises to 33% among 15-24 year olds.

There are two ways to watch TV online by streaming or downloading. If you’re streaming, you’re watching directly from the station, just like traditional TV. Programs can often be paused and rewound (unless they are “live”), but they will not be saved to your computer. Downloaded programs are saved to your computer’s hard drive and can be viewed whenever you want, although many have Digital Rights Management (DRM) protection that locks them after a certain period of time, preventing you from re- to see them

Is TV consumption likely to move solely online? This may happen in the future if more programs are broadcast exclusively online, such as the England v Ukraine World Cup qualifier which, for the first time in early October 2009, was broadcast on line without television coverage. The cost to watch the game started at £4.99 before 8 October and rose to £11.99 until the day of the match.

The general feedback from consumers was that this was too expensive for a match and alienated spectators and supporters in pubs with slow internet connections. But there will certainly be more events in the future that are not televised and only shown on the Internet.

The growth of social networks

Social media is huge in the UK, with Facebook the clear market leader accounting for 1 in 7 page views in the UK. Facebook is the UK’s second most visited site after Google, but is the clear leader in terms of pageviews due to the site’s rigidity with more pageviews than Google, eBay UK and YouTube combined.

The success of Facebook is amazing with an 86% increase in visits in the last 12 months. Although Twitter has lost press coverage recently, it remains the most popular social network accounting for nearly half of all social media activity that takes place online, with no signs of slowing down in growth. Social media isn’t just for a young audience, the fastest growth was among 35-54 year olds in the first quarter of this year.

Children and their time online

Most children are completely comfortable using the Internet without knowing a world without it. A report from the London School of Economics found the following about internet usage among 9-19 year olds. Children feel very comfortable using the Internet and 40% use it daily. Although time spent online tends to be shorter than with adults, 19% spend up to 10% and 48% spend between 10 minutes and an hour. The activities they carry out on the Internet, ordered by popularity, are:

  • Get information about things other than schoolwork (94%)
  • Help with school work (90%)
  • Send and receive emails (72%)
  • Play online games (70%)
  • Send and receive instant messages (55%)
  • Play music (45%)
  • Search for information on careers and higher education (44%)
  • Find information and buy online (40%)
  • Read the news (26%)
  • Chat rooms (21%)

I have no doubt that over time the use of the Internet will continue to grow. Our children use it from a young age, creating a generation of people who are comfortable doing a variety of tasks online, from entertainment to shopping. Continued improvement in Internet access lowers barriers to entry, and ever-increasing technologies that use the Internet to make certain tasks easier and faster will help continue the Internet’s growing expansion.

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