Deloitte study into UK media and technology consumption

15 May 2013

The Media and Entertainment practice of Deloitte, the prestigious professional services firm, carried out a comprehensive survey of 2,085 UK and 16,000 people worldwide to question them about their usage of media, including their entertainment habits and their consumption of information. The results are a fascinating glimpse into how British people are using their gadgets and computers and what they use them for, and they provide a fascinating insight which businesses can use to maximise the effectiveness of their marketing, online and social media activities.

Gadgets and Devices

65% of the respondents to the survey, who were overall aged between 14 and 75, had access to a smartphone and 1/3 of households had some kind of tablet device. The average Brit owned an incredible 11.4 media devices compared to 9.7 in the 2011 survey, and the most significant growth in this period was in the tablet market. 128 million of these devices, including iPads, Android and Windows tablets, were sold worldwide in 2012, and the increased adoption of this technology is thought to be due, in part, to the increasing ranges available. Considering the fact that this technology is little more than three years old, its widespread popularity is particularly impressive.

When marketers are aware of how consumers typically use their devices, this can inform their promotional efforts. Targeting the right kind of advertising or content to particular platforms, based on how this survey has found they are used, can eliminate ineffective adverts and maximise the chances of broadcasting information or offers that customers are open to receiving and will be responsive to.

The fact that media organisations and online services are increasingly producing content which is optimised for mobile devices, as well as the price reductions of these gadgets over time, is no doubt contributing to their widespread adoption. Tablets and e-readers are present in 1/3 of all UK homes although, to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports that this symbolises the death of PCs and laptops have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, ownership of laptops “remained steady among most age groups, except for the 45 to 50s, where there was a 15 per cent increase”.

PC ownership continues to be important to UK consumers, and three quarters of people who responded to this survey said they did not consider their tablets to be an alternative to their PC. Instead, it was an additional gadget, as were smartphones: items that complemented their PC usage rather than superseded it. Media diversification and not therefore replacement.

The survey found that, despite the capabilities of many smartphones, they remain primarily a communication tool. The most common activities on these gadgets are talking on the phone or sending and receiving text messages, and half of smartphone owners had used the internet or checked their email on their device. It’s interesting to also see that one third had updated social media accounts on their phone. If you look at this in terms of audience numbers, rather than by percentages or fractions, it would still be an impressive figure.

Social Media and Online Advertising

Deloitte included questions about social media usage in their survey, and the responses showed without a doubt that Facebook was the social network of choice for UK consumers. Each performed an average of 3.5 “actions” each day on the site, “where an action is defined as updating their status or commenting on or ‘liking’ something”. Twitter was the second most popular social networking site, followed by Instagram, Flickr and Pinterest. The study offered a glaring omission of both Google+ and LinkedIn.

Social media sites are not only used by UK consumers for socialising with friends. Almost a quarter “believe social network sites are important in learning about new products or services”, and younger respondents reported being more influenced by online advertising on social media sites than they are by more traditional forms of marketing. Older people, on the other hand, reported that search engine advertising influenced them the most, and 18 – 24 year olds were most affected by ads, which are run before online videos can be viewed. For the youngest respondents, those between 14 and 17 years old, search engine advertising did not appear in their top three forms of influential advertising, whereas social media advertising was not in the top three of over 25s. As a result, the survey results describe under-24s as “social first”, and over-25s as “search first” in their usage of the internet.

This kind of study provides incredibly useful information for marketers in their decisions about where, and how, to advertise their products based on their target consumer's profile. Studying the survey in full, and considering the comprehensive details it provides of UK internet usage can inform carefully aimed marketing campaigns, as well as other provision for consumers and prospects such as creating smartphone or tablet apps and the use of responsive design in website development. The carefully analysed survey results offer a unique insight into consumer behaviour, which should be embraced by anybody who wants to truly understand their market.