A breakdown of how the average Brit spends time online each day

The world of retail is changing – just look at services like Apple Pay or Barclays’ Bpay.

But it’s not just a matter of new disruptive technologies that are shaking things up, as Poundland has revealed a leopard can indeed change its spots.

As of September 2015, the 25-year-old value retailer, which boasted a revenue of almost £1bn last year, has introduced an online shopping and delivery service. The move will complement the company’s existing tangible presence that comprises more than 550 stores.

A quick walk down the street will see numerous people with their heads pointing towards the ground, gazing down at their smartphones and tablets – but what are they doing on them?

According to research from the Internet Advertising Bureau UK (IAB) and UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM) with comScore, the average Brit is actively spending two hours and 51 minutes on the internet each day when at home, work and on the move – based on data from the first half of 2015.

The two firms conducted the research to publish a “definitive figure” to clarify and remove confusion from conflicting sources. The study used a number of measurements to track the behaviour of 73,000 people and thousands of websites and apps.

Interestingly, mobile devices account for the majority of time at 55 per cent. Breaking down into the specifics showed that 76 minutes are spent on PCs and laptops (45 per cent), 69 minutes on smartphones (40 per cent) and 26 minutes on tablets (15 per cent).

“There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to the various sources claiming to measure how long people spend on different media,” said IAB’s chief strategy officer, Tim Elkington.

“So, we wanted to put a stake in the ground for internet time to remove this misconception and help advertisers understand how much time they realistically have to play with to reach people online. It equates to about 1 in every 6 waking minutes.”

Figures are based on “active attention”, which translates into time people are specifically on the web completing an action. For example, browsing the web is tracked until postponed to answer a call or use a word document.


Read more on the connected consumer:

Social media is a big draw for Brits and accounted for 16.7 per cent of all internet time (ten minutes) – the equivalent of one in six minutes – up from 12 per cent in 2013. 

In fact, spending time on Facebook, Twitter and the like has outpaced entertainment, which falls from 22.1 per cent to 12.4 per cent (seven minutes and 30 seconds) over the period.

That in itself highlights that companies yet to get connected and reach out to their audiences on social networks are missing out on a big opportunity to get directly in front of customers.

In August, Facebook achieved a new milestone for one billion users in a single day, which comes as the company offers continued support to SMEs.

“On Monday [24 August], 1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and founder.

“A more open and connected world is a better world. It brings stronger relationships with those you love, a stronger economy with more opportunities, and a stronger society that reflects all of our values.”

Elsewhere, games have risen in popularity over the period to double to a six per cent share of internet time (three minutes and 35 seconds), accounting for a third of total web usage with social media and entertainment.

Meanwhile, instant messaging accounted for two minutes and 30 seconds, followed by retail and news on around two minutes. Other, which refers to a remaining 22 sectors visited across devices, took up 28 minutes.

Having said that, activity time varies based on the device the consumer is using. Social media and gaming time on mobiles is double that of desktops, while entertainment and emails are more dominant on computers than smartphones and tablets.

“When trying to reach consumers, advertisers can’t afford to think of time online as a homogenous entity,” said UKOM’s GM Scott Fleming.

“Mobile internet time is more heavily skewed towards social networking and games whilst desktop is more loaded towards email and entertainment such as film and multimedia. “The most effective digital ad strategies recognise and take into account how behaviour and mind-set differ dramatically by device.”

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