Ofcom’s yearly Communications Market Report has recently been published and like previous year’s it makes interesting reading, particular around mobile consumption and technology habits. Head of Optimisation and Planning, Neil M Hancock, reviews some of the key findings.
The Ofcom Communications Market Report is full of interesting and thought-provoking stats and facts, most of which merely confirms what we already know, such as ‘superfast broadband’ and ‘4G coverage’ is growing with 30% of the UK population now having ‘superfast broadband’ and similarly 30% having access to 4G coverage.
Some other stats and facts are a little more surprising and interesting, such as:
– The increase in take-up of tablets and smartphones continues to rise rapidly each year as they become more mainstream and affordable.
– Smartphones have continued to increase over the past year, with two-thirds of adults (66%) now owning one. While over half of households (54%) had a tablet computer in 2015, increasing from 44% in 2014.
– Exactly half of all smartphone users say they are ‘hooked’ on their mobile phone.
– Half of young people aged 18-24 check their phones within five minutes of waking and two-fifths (40%) check it less than five minutes before going to sleep.
– Finally television sets are the most valued media device among all adults, but 16-24 year-olds couldn’t live without their smartphone.
The continued growth of mobile and tablet devices again reaffirms the point my colleague Tom Etherington makes about the importance of micro moments and the evolution of how humans are becoming more comfortable with technology and using it in that micro-moment.
As with most technological advancements they are being pushed along by the younger generations who tend to be the early adopters, with the majority of 16-24 year old’s saying their mobile is the one media device they couldn’t do without. However with 30% of the 45-54 year olds also saying the same thing, it shows mobile devices break the traditional age barriers.
Smartphones vs. Laptops & Purchasing Habits
Ofcom go further into detail around the popularity of smartphones and the data challenges a common misconception that people do not purchase on a mobile device. For the first time, the smartphone has overtaken the laptop as the device internet users say is the most important for connecting to the internet.
The below table highlights to rapid growth in importance of both mobile and tablet devices as a way of connecting to the Internet.
– Smartphones have grown from 15% to 33% in two years, becoming the most important device for connecting to the Internet in 2015.
– Tablet has seen an equally large growth from 8% to 19%, being more important than Desktops.
– Whereas both Laptops (down from 46% to 30%) and Desktops (down from 28% to 14%) have suffered large drops in the last 2 years.
The on-going importance of ‘on-the-go’ devices again echo’s the increase of micro moments to businesses, but also the increasing split across all devices.
For the first time no singular device is deemed the most importance by more than 35% of the UK population, meaning that we are truly in a multi-device world and as businesses we need to know how to create content for all potential devices and cannot become complacent and focus on just one.
A substantial proportion of smartphone owners use their phones for transactional activities, including making purchases online (45%)
A common misconception we hear a lot is that people do not make purchases on their smartphones and use it purely as a interested and ‘boredom filling’ device and the physical completion of a purchase predominately happens on a desktop or laptop device. Ignoring the obvious importance of understanding cross-device customer purchase journeys for the time being, the Ofcom survey highlights that people are prepared to make purchased on their smartphones, with 45% of the UK population confirming they have made a purchase on their phone.
Where Next For Mobile & Tablet?
The uptake of smartphones and tablets continues to challenge normal technological stereotypes that they are for the young and wealthy. With uptake increases year on year across all age groups and with variety and affordability increasing they are more accessible for all.
The increase in 4G access, free public wi-fi and data limits will only help to accelerate the expectation that the Internet is accessible immediately and on-demand and interactions are going to happen instantly when needed.
My advice… Become more aware of the micro moment at which people react to a need and make sure your business is suited to take advantage. If you want further reading on the importance of Micromoments and how to maximise your brands visibility, read our excellent insights piece ‘Micro-moments: How to survive the new battleground for brands’ by Tom Etherington.