UK Internet Users Becoming Increasingly Mobile - eMarketer

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UK Internet Users Becoming Increasingly Mobile

Internet users in the UK increasingly connect via mobile devices

October 15, 2013

UK consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to connect to the internet. According to research released at the beginning of October by the Oxford Internet Institute, 57% of web users in Great Britain will access the internet via a mobile device in 2013.

This represents an almost tripling of the proportion who were connecting this way in 2009, and marks mobile as the second-most-popular access location behind only the home—ahead even of work locations.

Internet Users in Great Britain, by Access Location, 2005-2013 (% of respondents)

In reality, a lot of mobile internet activity in the UK occurs within the home, often over a private Wi-Fi network. This type of behavior has been predicated by a fairly uncompetitive 4G landscape, with mobile network operator EE being the only 4G service provider in the UK for almost a year. But with competition recently arriving and 4G rollouts becoming more widespread, internet connectivity in the UK is becoming a far more mobile proposition.

So, with a good amount of home internet use already taking place via mobile devices, and with increasing 4G coverage likely to lead to an increasing amount of mobile connectivity “on the go,” the degree to which users connect to the internet via mobile is only going to increase across the more general population. This is supported by eMarketer’s latest forecast for mobile phone internet users in the UK, which includes Great Britain as well as Northern Ireland. Almost half the entire population is forecast to connect to the internet via mobile phones in 2013, and this will increase to two-thirds by 2017.

UK Mobile Phone Internet Users and Penetration, 2011-2017

This forecast accounts for mobile phone use only and excludes tablet devices from the mobile internet equation. When one considers that there will be 20 million tablet users in the UK in 2013—31% of the entire population—it’s clear that the trend among UK consumers to connect to the web via mobile devices will continue apace.

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