Online trading and e-commerce are among the fastest growing markets in Europe. Figures from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) show that six out of ten British adults use the internet to buy products such as food, clothing, music or holidays. In addition to this, with a love for online shopping, social networking and catch up TV, the United Kingdom is becoming one of the world’s most web and gadget obsessed countries according to the latest survey results from Ofcom’s annual communications market report.
The Ofcom consumer report published in October 2012 suggest that mobile owners in the UK are spending more money shopping for goods or services online as compared to mobile owners in the United States. In fact, UK is ahead of all other countries that have been mentioned in the research. The Ofcom consumer report compares data across 17 countries from around the world including France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, Spain, China and the USA, and the findings show how the communications market breaks down in detail – UK mobile owners lead the online shopping arena followed closely by Australia, USA, Japan, Italy, France and finally Germany, in that order.
This can be attributed to a number of several different reasons, such as the simple fact that the number of people using tablets such as iPads in British households on Christmas Day and Boxing Day doubled last year compared to 2010, which a recent survey found.
Much can also be attributed to the average UK consumer’s preference for special airings on television regarding al that goes around in the region, most note ably sports. TV viewing figures for the Olympics games last summer make for some interesting reading. According to Ofcom, 51m UK viewers watched the coverage of the Olympic Games, and 32m watched coverage of the Paralympic Games. This is considerably higher than the viewing figures for both the Beijing Games and Athens.
Almost a quarter of Britons use an online catch up TV service each week, much further ahead than the US in second place at 17%. The UK is also leading the way with online shopping – UK consumers spend on average £1083 per year in 2010. Australia and Sweden had the next highest spend with £842 and £747 respectively.
This all comes done to the basic finding that Britons spent £68.2 billion on the internet last year, an increase of almost £10 billion on 2010, according to IMRG, a body which represents the UK’s online retailers. This is equivalent to £2,180 for every adult in the country.
Coming back to the OECD report, it states that the UK has fifth highest broadband penetration in the developed world, behind the US, Japan, Germany and France. However, it is also true that the UK has the fifth lowest number of businesses that use the internet in the developed world. In this regard, the OECD found that the UK lags all countries bar Turkey, Greece, Hungary and Chile in terms of the number of businesses with ten or more employees that are connected to the web. However, speaking of an overall trend, with the increase in internet usage from handheld devices like smartphones and tablet PCs amongst online shoppers in Britain, the trend on online shopping in the region is expected to rise.