The report collects international data on the communications sector which is then used to measure and benchmark the UK in an international context. Services from the UK and 17 countries worldwide are measured on availability, take-up and usage. These countries are the USA, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Japan, Spain, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, India, China and Nigeria.
Ofcom has a number of goals for the annual report: benchmark the UK’s communications sector, learn from other countries’ market developments, and provide information and context for Ofcom’s regulation updates. This ensures that the actions taken by the organisation are backed up by rich data which was obtained from a variety of sources. One key finding is that the UK’s Internet economy is one of the strongest globally which comes from record levels of advertising. E-commerce spending is also measured in the report and figures show the UK has the highest level, with consumers purchasing an average of almost £2,000 worth of goods online each year. The next highest of the major nations is Australia, although the Australian average is £600 less than that of the UK (£1,356).
Many of the report’s findings are surprising, including that two-fifths of advertising in the UK is online, which is more than any other country in the report. When it comes to communications revenues, the UK (£51bn) is ranked as the second highest in Europe (behind Germany: £56bn) and fifth highest of all countries measured. One factor which has boosted this figure is the speed of internet available in the UK, something which has improved drastically over the past 5 years compared to the other nations shown in the below graphic:
These figures demonstrate that the UK has the highest coverage of super fast connectivity (30Mbit+) when compared with Europe’s five leading economies. Almost 8 out of 10 British homes now have the ability to access super fast broadband. It is somewhat surprising then, that the report also found that social media usage among adults in the UK is actually on the decline, down from 65% in September 2013 to 56% in October of this year.
“The internet has never been more important to the lives of people in this country, and the demand for better connections keeps rising,” says Ofcom Chief Executive, Ed Richards. You can view and download sections of the report.
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