Highlights from Ofcom’s Global Media and Communications Report

Matthew Warneford

Mid-December saw Ofcom release their Global Media and Communications report. The report compares the UK’s media and communications activity with that of the rest of the world, it’s quite detailed and very long. If you want to read it for yourself you can do so here. To save time we’ve picked out a few of our favourite charts, specifically related to the mobile market. These charts don’t relate to mobile use by children, but it does provide valuable insight into the country they’re growing up and the behaviour of their parents, who often hold the digital purse strings.

If you liked this report you might also want to check out our breakdown of Ofcom’s review of public service broadcasting, with a focus on children’s media consumption.

Owner and personal use of devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop, desktop, digital radio)

Despite all the attention paid to tablet devices, in the UK they rank below smartphones, laptops, and desktops for ownership. In the report Ofcom states: “In the US and the UK average time spent browsing on a laptop or desktop has fallen significantly since 2012: time spent browsing on these devices fell by nine hours per user in the US and seven hours per user in the UK. This may be due to users in these countries substituting mobile browsing for laptop/desktop browsing.

“The laptop and desktop active audience is getting older in our comparator countries. People aged over 55 made up the largest proportion of laptop and desktop users in most of our comparator countries. In the UK, a quarter of users (25%) were over 55, up two percentage points since August 2013.”

Proportion of respondents who have ever made a mobile payment, by type of goods purchased

It’s worth noting that this data comes from all respondents with a mobile phone/smartphone.  As displayed in the previous chart, only 63% of the UK population own a smartphone.

China’s use of mobile purchases eclipses every other nation in the survey. Excluding China the UK’s use of mobile purchasing is on par with other countries in the report, except for Italy.

People in the UK are more likely to purchase digital goods (games, music, films) through a mobile device than they are to purchase physical and ‘real life’ goods. However, only 16% of UK mobile/smartphone owners have ever purchased a digital good through their phone!

Type of mobile payment used for non-digital services

For non-digital services no one method of mobile payment outperforms another, with buyers as likely to have used a QR code as they are to have used an NFC reader or app.

Type of mobile payment used for non-digital goods

For non-digital goods apps and mobile websites are the most popular purchasing method, but both are rarely used.

Types of AV content watched on a mobile phone

By large mobile AV consumption is focused on short video clips, with fewer than 10% of mobile phone owners watching longer-form content.

Types of AV content watched on a tablet

Short video clips are still the most watched AV content on tablets, but consumption of video-on-demand and live TV all more than double. Catch-up TV sees the biggest rise, with the UK leading the world (except for China) for catch-up TV viewing on tablets. This is probably helped by the popularity of services like iPlayer and 4oD in the UK.

Use of a smartphone/mobile phone to consume audio content

31% of mobile owners in the UK use their phone to listen to music they own and only 14% use it to stream audio. While this may seem low it’s on par with the likes of France, Germany and Japan. Spain, Italy and America lead for mobile audio streaming.

Other Articles