Warc Blog

UK is 'wedded' to technology

21 October 2013
LONDON: The extent to which Britons have become glued to modern technology has been revealed in a detailed new survey that found the average person uses some form of connected device 34 times a day.

Furthermore, one-in-six smartphone owners use their device whilst shopping and just over half of them (52%) say they prefer to check their smartphone whenever they have a bit of 'downtime'.

Research from the Internet Advertising Bureau revealed 56% of smartphone owners used their device for everyday tasks and 34% described it as a "lifesaver", figures which rose to 70% and 52% respectively among users aged 18 to 30.

The survey involved 1,350 interviews with smartphone owners and 700 hours of video footage organised by research agency Firefish, whose cameras took a photo of participants every five seconds over a three day period.

Respondents averaged a total of two hours 12 minutes per day using a connected device and for 46% of this time – or one hour and one minute – they used two or three devices simultaneously.

Tim Elkington, IAB's director of research and strategy, explained there was also a broad pattern in how people used their devices.

They were checked in the morning for information about travel and the weather, he said, while afternoon usage involved specific tasks like paying bills and evenings were for entertainment, including shopping.

With smartphones increasingly becoming the entry point into the digital world, he suggested advertisers should consider it as "the first date" and entice people to find out more at a convenient time "without coming on too strong".

Elsewhere, two-thirds – and as many as 70% of people aged 55 or more – said they initially research a product online, then check it out in a shop before buying online.

And 41% said they often shop online when they're bored, suggesting modern devices are turning shopping into more of a pastime.

Dr Simon Hampton, a psychology lecturer at the University of East Anglia, compared people's inability to leave their phones alone to other 'displacement behaviours' like smoking or doodling.

However, unlike harmful compulsive behaviour, he said this could be "exciting" for marketers because it "might be exploited to encourage purchasing, particularly as digital increasingly blurs the line between shopping and entertainment".

Data sourced from IBA UK; additional content by Warc staff

 
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