Have you ever wondered about the day in the digital life of the British consumer? Or whether UK consumers are more device-centric than their U.S. counterparts? Now is your chance to find out – today, we’re thrilled to announce the launch of Verto Analytics’ audience measurement services in the UK. Our insights on the UK’s digital consumers will provide the first cross-device analysis tools to research partners and companies across the United Kingdom.
Our new UK data has already revealed some interesting device and behavioral characteristics that distinguish UK audiences (adults ages 18+) from their peers in the U.S. We’ll be sharing those insights on an ongoing basis, as well as featuring UK data in our regular features like Chart of the Week, Verto Reports, and the Verto Index.
If you’re interested in learning more, download a copy of our complete report, The UK Digital Consumer: Device and Behavioural Data and the UK Online Landscape. Read on for some of our key findings.
Devices: UK Users Are More Mobile-Centric
Audiences in the UK love their mobiles. Our latest research shows that mobile phones have a much higher device penetration in the UK than in the U.S., and this difference is especially stark when it comes to smartphones: 81% of Brits own a smartphone, compared to 68% of Americans.
And the UK is also leading the way in mobile-first thinking: British audiences spend more time online with mobiles (it’s 47% of their total time spent online), and 35% of Brits use online services only on mobiles (ie., they only access the internet using a smartphone or tablet), compared to 25% of Americans.
In addition to smartphone penetration, some of the most striking differences between American and British consumers are the disparities between device penetrations of smartphones versus feature phones (28% feature-phone penetration in the U.S. versus 16% in the UK) and in e-reader ownership (8% U.S. vs. 16% UK). These device ownership patterns likely have an impact on what services Brits access online, and how they use them (more on that below). Our data also indicates that Brits are faster to adopt new devices and related apps and services: in fact, wearables are the fastest-growing device market in the UK.
A Day in the Mobile Life of a British Consumer
Our data shows that British consumers tend to be loyal. An analysis of the amount of time they spend with a given app and the number of sessions they initiate per month shows a higher stickiness rating for UK consumers compared to the U.S. consumers (Verto Analytics’ stickiness index compares daily users to monthly users to quantify the most engaged users). This means that Brits who download and try apps are more likely to stay loyal and active with the app than their American counterparts. Previous Verto research has shown that more than 80% of U.S. consumers abandon an app with a week of downloading it, so this small bump in loyalty and engagement among UK users could prove to be an important factor for app developers and digital publishers.
User behavior over the course of the day also varies considerably; our data shows that, unsurprisingly, UK consumers tend to access mobile news and magazine apps during their commute hours, lunchtimes, and into the evenings. The greater overall reach of news/magazine apps among UK users may also be linked to the higher device penetration of mobile devices (versus feature phones) that we already noted between UK and U.S. users.
Meanwhile, Verto Analytics data shows that the use of weather apps spikes throughout the day – perhaps belying a British obsession with the weather (or at least, being prepared). Finance and social networking apps also showed distinctive patterns of use among UK consumers; in particular, while social networking apps enjoy widespread use in the UK, with a 99% market reach (nearly identical to the U.S.), the average amount of time that UK users spend with social networking apps is significantly lower – to the tune of 20% – despite a higher number over sessions per user. (Download our report for access to these user activity graphs).
Streaming Video Services: Will Local Win Over Global?
Our device and audience data in the UK reveals that there’s a large and engaged user base, but UK companies are still struggling to gain traction against global competitors: out of top 30 mobile apps in the UK, only one is from a UK company, and out of the top 30 cross-device publishers, only nine are from the UK. But important UK-based players are already gaining a significant foothold when it comes to online video streaming services.
While YouTube dominates the market in the UK, a closer look at local offerings from the BBC, Channel Four, and Sky reveal some signs of potential disruption. Most notably, BBC iPlayer boasts a higher stickiness rating than Vimeo (its closest competitor), and it also attracts more user sessions per month. Properties like Sky, and Channel Four’s own streaming service, could also potentially chip away at the user base and reach of global giants such as Netflix and Vimeo. We’ll be keeping an eye on these audience numbers and engagement metrics to determine if a shake-up in the rankings is in the works.