UK Digital Economy Is Speeding Ahead Of Other Nations, Ofcom Reveals

UK Internet © ronfromyork Shutterstock 2013

Record levels of online advertising and spending recorded in the UK, coupled with high broadband take-up, usage and superfast broadband coverage

The UK has one of the most developed digital economies in the world, a new report from Ofcom has claimed.

The watchdog’s International Communications Market Report (ICMR) 2014 found that the UK’s Internet economy is one of the strongest in the world, driven by record levels of online advertising, spending and entertainment consumption this year.

The report found that the UK has the highest e-commerce spending among major nations, with consumers paying almost £2,000 on average online for goods each year, significantly higher than the next-highest valued market of Australia (£1,356 per head).

Two-fifths (40 percent) of advertising spending in the UK is online – more than any of the other countries analysed, the report found.


Ofcom also released the findings of its European Broadband Scorecard, which found that the UK is also streaking ahead when it comes to broadband take-up, usage and superfast broadband coverage.

The report found that the UK had the highest coverage of superfast broadband among Europe’s five leading economies (the ‘EU5’ – France, Germany, Italy Spain and the UK). Nearly eight in 10 UK homes are now able to access superfast broadband, which provides connection speeds of 30 Mbit/s or above.

The way we use the internet is also changing, Ofcom found, with social media use amongst British adults actually declining. The ICMR found a fall from 65 percent in September 2013 to 56 percent in October 2014. This was the steepest fall of any of the countries surveyed, although the report also saw drops in social media use in the USA, Japan and China as consumers turn to social media sites that don’t require an active network connection, such as instant messaging and online video sites.

smart tvTuning in

The report also found that the UK was leading the way when it comes to embracing ‘smart’ media devices. Almost a quarter (22 percent) of UK consumers say they have a ‘smart’ TV, the highest in Europe, with the vast majority of these (84 percent) connected it to the internet. The UK also has the highest take-up of digital radio among the 18 surveyed countries, with 41 percent of listeners owning a digital set, ahead of second-placed Australia (23 percent), helped by a coverage range that is higher than any other country surveyed, reaching 95 percent of the nation.

“The internet has never been more important to the lives of people in this country, and the demand for better connections keeps rising,” said Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards.

“We are making significant progress in this area, as these country comparisons illustrate. However, we all acknowledge that there is more to do, and this will be the challenge for the coming years.”

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