eMarketer Update Shows UK Digital Usage Still Growing - eMarketer

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eMarketer Update Shows UK Digital Usage Still Growing

Oldest and youngest users driving uptake

March 1, 2017

eMarketer has released its latest estimates for digital usage in the UK. According to a new report, “UK Digital Users: The eMarketer Forecast for 2017,” (available only to eMarketer PRO subscribers), the proportion of the country’s population using the internet will swell to 82.0% this year, as majorities of UK residents engage in an expanding list of digital activities.

Select UK Digital Usage Metrics, 2017 (% of population)

Much of the expected growth for most digital devices and activities is expected to come from the far ends of the age spectrum.

Looking at digital device adoption, for example, an anticipated 5.4% increase in the number of smartphone users in 2017 will come primarily from older age cohorts trading up from more basic feature phones, while a 4.8% bump in tablet usage will be mainly due to new users ages 12 to 17 and 55 and older.

Digital activities will also continue to expand, with increases of between 3% and 4% expected for digital gaming, social networking, digital video viewing and digital audio listening. As with device adoption, older and younger users will largely drive uptake of these activities.

“The UK has one of the highest internet penetrations in the world, so overall growth during the forecast period will be slight,” said eMarketer forecasting writer Corey McNair. “Any significant growth will come from first-time users, specifically children ages 11 and younger accessing video content regularly and adults 65 and older adopting smartphones, then using them to go online.”

In another aspect of the forecast involving age, eMarketer has raised its estimates for social network penetration to reflect recent data showing increased Facebook usage among 25- to 34-year-olds.

Elsewhere in the social network space, Snapchat and Instagram will each see their number of users grow by about 20% in 2017, while Twitter uptake has been revised downward to 2.5% for this year.

The report includes eMarketer’s estimates for UK internet users; mobile phone, smartphone and tablet users; digital activities such as social networking and digital video viewing, including by device; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat users; and—for the first time in the UK—metrics on email, gaming and digital audio usage. The projections, which run through 2021, include breakouts by age and gender.

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