Smartphones, tablets shaping UK habits

09 June 2011

LONDON: Increasing numbers of UK consumers are accessing the internet and media content on smartphones and tablets, a report has shown.

Media agency Kinetic surveyed 1,000 adults, including 500 in London, and found 45% claimed they already owned an iPhone or equivalent device, and 17% hoped to do so in the near future.

Penetration hit 65% in London, meaning residents of the capital easily surpassed the national average.

Overall, Kinetic predicted gadgets like the iPhone and alternatives powered by Google Android could attain a 62% market share in the next 12 months.

"Within a relatively short space of time we expect smartphone ownership to be almost universal, particularly in major cities and amongst younger age groups," said Nick Mawditt, global director, insight and marketing, Kinetic Worldwide.

Having monitored social media usage through wireless handsets, Kinetic also revealed the amount of Facebook members logging in via this route has climbed from 42% to 50% year on year.

Similarly, the proportion of Twitter's audience visiting the microblogging platform in such a way has now reached 64%, an improvement on the 50% posted in June 2010.

When incorporating all channels, 65% of contributors had joined Facebook, up five percentage points annually, and achieving 74% in London.

Twitter uptake stood at 14%, measured against 8% from the same study last year, and 18% in London.

Parallel trends are observable concerning LinkedIn, a business-orientated Web 2.0 service, currently used by 6% of Kinetic's sample, an expansion on 4% in the previous round of research, and doubling among Londoners.

Elsewhere, 4% of the panel have obtained a tablet, and a further 11% expressed enthusiasm for acquiring one soon.

Leading the primary consideration set were Apple's iPad, mentioned as a possible purchase by 79% of potential buyers, beating Samsung's Galaxy Tab, with 43%.

Dell's Streak and HP's Slate both yielded 28% on this metric, and 17% displayed an interest in the PlayBook made by BlackBerry.

The core criteria due to shape which offering is ultimately chosen were price, cited as an important factor by 87% of those polled, while touchscreen quality recorded 68%.

Size generated 62%, design secured 60%, and compatibility with other gadgets registered 57%.

Some 84% of early adopters sent and received email from their tablet, 63% entered enquiries on search engines and 58% engaged in ecommerce or read ebooks.

A further 53% utilised social media properties, perused news online and played games, 37% consumed music and video, and 32% browsed magazines.

Portability was seen as a key advantage of these devices for users, 63% of which carried them when travelling, on holiday or socialising.

Data sourced from Kinetic; additional content by Warc staff