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BT Research Reveals Interesting UK Internet Trends

Posted: 27th Jul, 2008 By: MarkJ
The results from BT's latest research ('21st Century Life Index') into consumer trends over the past 10 years has revealed some interesting changes. The proportion of Internet users spending more than 5 hours per week online has more than doubled from just 25% in 1998 to 58% in 2008.

In 1998, only 14% spent between six and ten hours online - in 2008 this figure jumped to 27%, with a further 23% spending between 11 to 30 hours online. Another 7% are online for over 30 hours per week. However, people want to see improvements too:

(Survey) How would you improve the Internet?

The average number of websites an Internet user visits in any one week has risen dramatically, with 19% now visiting more than 20 different sites. In 1999, 45% visited just one to five sites a week, down to 39% in 2008, while 35% visited between six and 50 sites per week, which has increased to 49% in 2008.

Just 22% have never shopped online, a considerable drop from 81% ten years ago, and 41% of us shop online regularly compared to just 2% in 1998. We’re most likely to buy flights or holidays (48%), books (46%), CDs/videos (42%) or clothes (34%), whereas in 1998 the majority of internet shoppers purchased computer software or hardware.

Downloading music also proves to be a popular activity, with 30% using the internet for this purpose. 27% listen to the radio via the internet, 14% use it for gaming and a further 5% of people go online to gamble. Podcasts have yet to hit the mainstream (8%) and only 2% engage with online communities such as Second Life.

Despite advances in technology and communication tools, the results show the preferred method of communication is still face to face. In fact, this has gained popularity with 68% of people preferring face to face contact compared to 51% ten years ago.

The telephone is less popular; 36% of respondents preferred this method of communication in 1998, compared with only 18% in 2008, while email has jumped in popularity from being preferred by 1% in 1998 to 7% in 2008, with workers checking their email an average of 4.9 times per hour.

When asked what they would like to be able to do in 2012 that they can’t do now, 57% of respondents wanted to spend more time with family. Not surprisingly, 34% say they would like to spend less time working, while just 16% would like to be able to use one sole communications device. Just 13% would like to receive HDTV over broadband and a further 13% wanted access to WiMAX.

Of the non-internet users surveyed, 34% feel the internet is irrelevant to their needs, down from 51% in 1998. The second most common reason for non-use (16% in both 1998 and 2008) is a lack of understanding of technology and how to get online.
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