Media and behaviour insights from Ofcom 2018 report
Ofcom’s latest report is packed with consumer data and analysis. It should be part of your planning toolkit.
The Ofcom Communications Market Report 2018 tells the story of changing media consumption and behaviours in the UK. It’s an annual data dump of developments in the communications sector that’s invaluable in planning a PR campaign.
I've lifted some of the highlights relevant to my day job and added personal insights.
#1 Internet uptake driven by mobile: connected consumer
While take-up of fixed broadband has plateaued at 80%, accessing the internet on a mobile phone continues to grow from 66% in 2017 to 72% in 2018. Almost eight in ten UK adults (78%) use a smartphone. UK consumers spend more than 24 hours per week online. That’s double the 2011 level. Seven in ten commuters use a smartphone on their commute.
Insight: Smart phones are a primary form of media. They’re having an impact of every aspect of our lives and behaviour and not always in a good way.
#2 TV a close second
Internet usage is closely followed by TV as the most popular form of media. Nine in ten people watched TV every week for an average of three hours 23 minutes a day. Those aged 55+ accounted for more than half of all viewing in the UK. Programmes attracting audiences greater than eight million have halved in the past three years.
Insight: All TV is now digital. Internet driven over the top services such as Amazon video and Netflix have complemented terrestrial services.
#3 Internet services: Google and social media top
Google sites were visited by 41.9 million adults aged 18+ in the UK. YouTube was the most popular platform (40m), followed by Google Search (37m), Google Maps (25m) and Gmail (23m). Facebook (including Instagram, WhatsApp) was the second most-visited platform, closely behind Google with 40.2 million visitors, reaching 95% of the total UK online audience in 2018.
Insight: Google and Facebook’s dominance online are unassailable. They should be the cornerstone of any integrated consumer campaign.
#4 Facebook is a utility
More than three-quarters of UK internet users (77%) have a profile or account on a social media or messaging site or app in 2018. Facebook remains the more used social media platform, reaching 41 million internet users aged over 13, equivalent to 90% of the UK internet audience.
Insight: The dominance of Facebook services appear unaffected by the data privacy issues that it has faced in the past 12 months. It has become a utility.
#5 Radio remains resilient
Nine in ten adults in the UK listen to radio every week for an average of nearly 21 hours a week, and 75% of all audio listening is to live radio. In 2018 more than half of radio listening is via digital platforms. Most of this is on DAB (37%) with the remainder over the internet (9%) and via digital TV (5%).
Insight: Radio is an often overlooked medium but it has also been disrupted by the growth of digital platforms, connected devices and on-demand and streaming services.
#6 Device adoption: smart phones and watches climb but game over for tablets and consoles
Smartphones have become the most popular internet-connected device. Ownership of tablets (58% of UK households) and games consoles (44% of UK adults) has peaked in the last three years. One in five households has wearable tech such as smart watches and fitness trackers.
Insight: Future growth will be driven by innovation in mobile and new classes of devices such as smart watches.
#7 Digital divide: digital isn’t democratic
The benefits of the last ten years of connectivity have not been distributed equally among UK citizens. Lower-income households and over-54s are less likely to have smartphones, laptops and tablets, but are as likely to have a TV. Mobile phones (96%) and TVs (95%) are the only communications devices with near universal reach in the UK.
Insight: Do not make the mistake of assuming that because lot of people have access to the internet everyone does. You’ll need to work hard to reach non-internet users.
#8 Voice as an emerging media service
While take-up of smart speakers across the population as a whole remains relatively low at 13% it is comparable by age group. In the first half of 2018, 16% of 16-24s, 25-34s, and 35-54s in the UK owned a smart speaker, although this figure more than halved, to 7%, for those aged 55 and above. 75% of these are Amazon devices and 16% Google. Podcast listening is growing: one in four people have done this at least once in the past year.
Insight: Voice as a form of media is set to lead the next wave of internet disintermediation. Amazon is leading the way.
I’ve also written an analysis of the Ofcom report for PR Week that you might want to check out: What does the Ofcom report mean for PR?