Mobile social network use rising in UK

16 July 2009

LONDON: One third of UK consumers aged between 16 and 35 years old regularly use the mobile internet to access social networking websites, CCS Insight reports.

The company conducted a survey of 1,000 people in this age group, and reported that the number of men using their handsets to visit these portals was double that of their female counterparts.

Among the participants who logged on to social media services on their cellphones, a total of 90% used Facebook, compared with just 14% who said the same for Twitter.

However, while the under-25 year-old age bracket contributed the largest audience for most social networks, Twitter's core demographic was made up of adults in the 25–35 year-old age range.

Users of Apple's iPhone were also found to be more likely to participate in a number of different mobile activities than owners of other devices.

Overall, 70% of the former group said they often used web-based tools like search engines, email and social networks on their smartphones.

Some 28% of all respondents stated that the BBC iPlayer, the online video-on-demand platform operated by the broadcaster, was the service they would most like to access on their mobile.

It is currently available on five handsets manufactured by Sony Ericsson and three made by Nokia, as well as on the iPhone.

A further of 19% of participants wanted to be able to listen to as much music as possible via their mobile, with a similar number arguing they were interested in utilising navigation tools and maps.

However, multiplayer games and other forms of mobile television than the iPlayer were seen as desirable by just 4% of the panel, while 21% said they were not interested in any of this material.

Overall, CCS Insight argued that the prominence of the iPlayer demonstrated consumers are mainly looking to view "free" material on the mobile web, rather than paying for content.

This idea has been of increasing importance both to media owners and industry commentators, with Chris Anderson and Malcolm Gladwell recently engaging in a high-profile debate on the matter.

Data sourced from Business Week/CCS Insights; additional content by WARC staff