16 per cent of all website traffic in the UK was on a mobile device – including smartphones, tablets and other connected devices – according to Ofcom's seventh annual International Communications Market Report. That figure is higher than for any other country in Europe.
Computers are still the preferred method of connecting to the web for the vast majority of Brits, though, at 88 per cent – with 51 per cent preferring laptop, and 37 per cent desktop.
Six per cent prefer smartphones, though, and an additional six per cent prefer other connected devices. The UK also has one of the highest penetrations for smartphones, at 58 per cent, while 19 cent of the population owns a tablet.
Commenting on the report, Play.com marketing director Adam Stewart said: “It’s certainly a trend that we’ve seen echoed on Rakuten’s Play.com, where we have seen nearly 120 per cent increase in traffic from mobile and tablet devices over the last 12 months. We also find that mobile browsing surges on Monday morning, and the pattern of browsing from bed or on the early morning commute is echoed throughout the week, with the highest levels of mobile browser activity occurring between 6–8 am. Data also shows that shoppers are most likely to click through on deals via their mobile during this early morning timeframe.“
According to the report, in December 2011 the average UK mobile connection used 424MB of data – right up to the line of the default 500MB cap of most contracts – but what are they using their data for?
40 per cent UK adults use their mobile phones to visit social networking sites, a figure that rises to 62 per cent among 18-24 year olds – that's higher than any of the other EU5 countries.
Meanwhile, 23.1 per cent of UK smartphone users are visiting retail sites on mobile. Once again, that's the highest proportion in the EU5, with Germany in a close second at 22.6 per cent.
“The fact that Brits are spending more online compared to the rest of the globe shows our huge appetite for internet shopping and brands can clearly see the value of the online and mobile channels as a result,” said Mark Haviland, managing director of affiliate network Rakuten LinkShare. “The huge amount of mobile web traffic reveals that consumers are taking advantage of their connected devices to browse and buy. While it is important to have a mobile strategy in place, marketers and brands should also remember that the mobile purchase journey does not exist in isolation. A consumer will often go on a non-liner journey while making a decision to buy, which could touch the online, in-store and mobile worlds multiple times.”