Understanding UK consumers and what they do online

Check out our latest infographic illustrating how UK consumers use the internet. Our quantitative research team surveyed a representative sample of over 600 adults, understanding how long people spend on the internet, what they do while they’re online …and some unexpected consequences. 

Understanding UK consumer

How much time do people spend online?
The average UK adult spends 5.3 hours a day online – which means over the course of a year, we’re racking up an average of 80 days. The total’s higher among the under-35s, and highest of all among 15-25s, who spend just shy of 8 hours online in a typical day. Turning to apps specifically, while 42% of us spend at least an hour a day using them, there’s a subgroup of UK consumers – 13% of us – who spend more than 6 hours using apps in a typical day.

So what are we doing during that time?
More often than not, we’re managing our personal finances. Almost 9 in 10 of us regularly go online to check our bank balance or monitor other financial products we own, while over half are checking, managing or paying bills. But we also go online to communicate and stay connected: 71% of us regularly use the internet to send and receive emails, while 62% of us visit social networking sites.

We also like to get involved in the digital purchase journey, with 66% of us regularly researching or browsing for things we’re planning to buy online, and over half of us using the internet to research or browse for things we intend to go and buy in a shop. Almost two-thirds of UK adults told us they regularly shop online for items other than groceries.

So does the UK ever go online to have fun?
While 59% of UK adults regularly visit sites linked to their personal interests or hobbies, fewer – only 42% – use the internet to access music or movies, and around 1/3 regularly play games of any kind online.

Our survey also asked about people’s feelings towards their jobs, and their work-life balance, and there are some interesting insights into intensity of internet use and the way they feel about work. People who spend 1 or 2 hours online in a typical day tend not to describe their work as stressful, and to list several hobbies and leisure activities.

Our heavy app users, on the other hand, often say they do little with their free time, and many count ‘shopping’ among their hobbies. Generally speaking, the heavier your internet use, the more strongly you’re likely to feel that your work is stressful, your job is insecure, and that people are judged by their professional success.

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