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The UK Internet benefits from a virtuous cycle of strong consumer purchasing power and cheap connectivity.
According to the just-published UK Online report from eMarketer, as telecom competition drives down prices, ever-growing numbers of Brits are upgrading to broadband speeds.
The UK now boasts the fifth-largest broadband population in the world. With 12 million broadband households in 2006, the UK ranks just ahead of Germany (11.8 million) and France (11.2 million).
Faster Internet connections mean that UK broadband users now spend up to six hours more online each week.
In March 2007, 47.1% of UK households had a broadband connection. eMarketer estimates that by 2011, Britain's broadband penetration will increase to nearly 76.8%, or 20 million households.
A generation is growing up in Britain that takes "always on" connectivity for granted. For British youths, the Internet is a virtual playground, a place to meet friends and an extension of the classroom.
For their parents, the Internet is a place to do business, evidenced by the fact that a third of all UK consumers have made a purchase online.
Point Topic research shows that a high percentage of UK broadband customers used the Internet for business-oriented tasks, including shopping or price comparison and reading financial, weather, news, health, yellow page and legal information. Larger numbers of broadband users also engaged in entertainment activities, including reading blogs, reading celebrity news and gossip and playing online games.
No generation is left behind, however. Nearly one in four British Internet users are over the age of 50. In fact, a recent poll found that among UK pensioners the Internet is even more popular than gardening.
The UK is the most digital country in Western Europe, according to Informa's May 2006 Converging Media (CM) Index. The CM Index measures advanced-digital-content consumption using broadband, digital TV and mobile data.
Find out why the dramatic growth in the UK Internet is rapidly becoming a model for marketers around the world to follow. Read eMarketer's new UK Online report today.
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