Masterclassing

UK Leads Europe in Mobile Social Networking Use

Andy Penfold

A survey by market research company TNS has revealed that the UK is the highest ranked Western country when it comes to using social networks on mobile. According to the survey's findings, over 11m people logging onto social networks on their handset.

The TNS Mobile Life 2011 survey is the largest ever global research study into today's mobile consumer, according to the company. 

The UK consumer's social connectivity habits are revealed in the survey, with 5.5m, or 16 per cent, of Brits reporting that they access social networks every day from their mobile. This figure looks set to grow - 8m (41 per cent) of mobile users in Britain who are not yet social networking on their mobile say they are interested in doing so.

The UK also leads Europe in downloading apps (31 per cent), watching social video (29 per cent) and downloading games (26 per cent), The number of people with smartphones has now reached 17m.

The survey also found that content and applications are becoming a stronger driver of consumer purchases. 36 per cent of British consumers cite content and applications as "important" in their choice of mobile device, up from 33 per cent in 2010.

Stephen Yap, group director at TNS Technology says: "TNS Mobile Life 2011 reveals how mobile technology is transforming the lives of Britons at an unprecedented pace. With social networking emerging as a killer application, mobile content and applications have never been more important. Handset makers and operators take note: it's no longer just about the device or the network, but rather what people are doing and downloading."

The design of mobile devices is of increasing importance, too. 45 per cent of British mobile users say device design or 'form factor' is important, compared with 41% in 2010.  Only 33 per cent of consumers say that the choice of operator is an important purchase consideration.

However, tablets are of less interest to UK consumers compared to their European counterparts. Just 17 per cent in the UK are interested in buying a tablet over the next six months, compared to 28 per cent across Europe and 31 per cent in Asia.

According to the survey, the UK trails the world when it comes to purchasing consumer technology over the next six months, with almost half (49 per cent) of Britons not intending to spend on gadgets in that period. 

Yap says: "Brits' comparative scepticism when it comes to tablets affirms the pragmatic relationship between people in this country and their technology. While consumers elsewhere have been wowed by the iPad, Brits maintain more of a "wait and see" mindset - no doubt underpinned by pressures on people's purses leading to increasing cutbacks on non-essential purchases."