Online users in UK more mobile-centric than in US

British online users are more mobile-oriented than their American counterparts. When they are online, consumers in the United Kingdom spend more of their time surfing cyberspace with their mobiles than consumers in the United States, according to new research.

The majority of digital consumers in the U.K. also seem to be more adventurous in their use of digital devices. Over the course of a day, they will flex between smartphones, tablets, and PCs.

The message from this and other trends is there appears to be a higher penetration of digital devices in the U.K. than in the U.S.

smartphone ownership US UKThe new research shows four out of five British adults have a smartphone compared with just over a third of Americans, and that Brits spend more of their online time on their mobiles than Americans.

So says a report from Verto Analytics, who earlier this year expanded their executive team to include a U.K. managing director.

From their analysis, the Finland-headquartered market researcher concludes that U.K. consumers are fast at adopting new devices and the services and apps they access through them.

They also suggest that of all the digital devices available to the surfing consumer, wearable technology is the fastest-growing category in the U.K.

CEO Dr. Hannu Verkasalo says:

“Our data shows that the British consumer is quick to adopt new apps and services on mobile devices, whether on smartphones or tablets. They also own and use multiple screens, from PCs to wearables and smart TVs.”

Exclusive use of mobile device to get online growing

Verto’s research shows that 81 percent of British adults use a smartphone, compared with only 68 percent of Americans, and that over the course of a month, 24 percent of U.K. consumers use smartphones, tablets, and PCs, compared with only 18 percent of U.S. consumers.

Other key findings show:

– the proportion of users that use only mobile technology to access online services is growing
– 35 percent of Brits use only their mobiles to get online, compared with 25 percent of Americans
– Brits spend 47 percent of their total time online with their mobiles, compared with 39 percent for Americans

digital device penetration US UKThe report suggests there is a higher penetration of digital devices in the U.K. than in the U.S. Data from: Verto Analytics.

U.K. users more ‘loyal’ to their apps

The research also explores how consumers use apps. It finds British consumers tend to be loyal – there is a higher stickiness rating for U.K. consumers compared to U.S. consumers. This is calculated from the number of sessions engaged with an app per month and the amount of time spent with it.

The higher level of app loyalty in the British user market could be an important attractor for app developers and digital publishers, say Verto, who found in earlier research that more than one in four American consumers abandon an app within a week of downloading it.

Other findings on the U.K. app market show:

– YouTube is the dominant player, but BBC iPlayer plus other local services are promising contenders
– BBC iPlayer has the same stickiness level as Netflix and has more user sessions per month than Vimeo
– Sky and Channel 4 are rising contenders in video streaming, looking to rival Vimeo and Netflix in the local market
– global players like Google, Facebook, and Amazon are the dominant app developers and digital publishers
– only 30 percent (9 companies) of the top 30 digital publishers operating in the U.K. market are based in the U.K.

Youtube and digital devicesYoutube is the dominant player in the U.K. app user market, but local services are promising contenders

Verto interpret this and other trends as showing while the U.K. has a large and engaged app user base dominated by global players, U.K. companies could still gain local traction at their expense – signs of this are already visible in the video streaming sector.

Verto’s data comes from its syndicated media measurement service. This is essentially a measurement app that gathers behavioral data from a panel of consumers who own and use multiple devices.

The consumers, who are rewarded for taking part, opt to install the app on all their devices. This allows Verto to quantify their digital journeys across all the apps, sites, services, and devices they use.

The service, which has been in use in the U.S. for several years, was launched in the U.K. earlier this year.

You can download the Verto report “The UK Digital Consumer: Device and Behavioural Data and the UK Online Landscape” in return for some basic information about yourself.