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UK Stodgy? Not Online!

By many measures, Britain has become Europe's leading Internet economy.

March 28, 2007

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.

Broadband Households and Penetration in Select Countries Worldwide, 2006 (millions and % of total households)

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.

Online Information Sought by UK Internet Users, by Access Technology, January-February 2006 (% of respondents in each group)

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.

Top 10 Countries in Western Europe, Ranked by Digital Content Consumption, Q4 2005 (based on index*)

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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