Online Nation 2020 report

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Online Nation 2020 report

Transcript Of Online Nation 2020 report

Online Nation
2020 Report

Raising awareness of online harms

Published 24 June 2020





1. The online consumer


2. The online industry


3. Online games


4. Video-sharing platforms


5. Online communication services



A1. Methodology


Online Nation 2020
Online Nation is an annual research report, published for the first time in 2019. Using research produced both by Ofcom and others, this report and the accompanying interactive data look at what people in the UK are doing online, how they are served by online content providers and platforms, and their experiences of using the internet, alongside business models and industry trends. As well as looking at long-term trends, this year’s report includes more recent data looking at online behaviour in the UK during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Alongside this we have published our latest Adults' media use and attitudes report and research into internet users’ concerns about and experience of potential online harms, with advice on the research design provided by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The report follows a similar structure to last year, with chapters on:
• the online consumer – covering the most popular online services and their use in the UK and consumers’ attitudes towards and understanding of them;
• the online industry – covering online sector growth and trends from a UK perspective; and • three final chapters looking in detail at specific aspects of the online experience, helping us
to understand how specific online communications and media are used by people in the UK and how businesses monetise and operate their services. This year, we include three detailed chapters on online games, video-sharing platforms and online communication services. As in 2019, this report is an important part of our work to understand communications markets and consumer behaviour. We have a duty to research and promote media literacy, which includes promoting an understanding of what is happening online. There have recently been a number of developments around Ofcom’s remit in regard to online services. Namely, Ofcom is preparing to take on new duties for the regulation of UK-based videosharing platforms (VSPs) and the UK Government has announced that it is minded to appoint Ofcom as the regulator of the forthcoming online harms regime. While the information in this report may have relevance to a number of different areas of our remit, it does not put forward policy guidance or make any policy recommendations. Some of the key findings from our report are set out below, with a longer summary also available.

Online Nation 2020
What we have found – in brief
Consumer and industry: time spent online, and associated revenues, grew in 2019
• In September 2019 the average time spent online each day by adults aged 18+ was 3 hours 29 minutes, up from 3 hours 11 minutes in 2018.1 In comparison, on average, adults spent 3 hours 19 minutes watching TV on a TV set each day,2 and 2 hours 40 minutes listening to radio each day.3
• 71% of all measured time spent online was on smartphones. 35% of internet users only accessed the internet on mobile devices (smartphone or tablet).4
• 13% of adults do not use the internet, a figure that is broadly unchanged since 2014. Half of over75s do not use the internet (51%).5
• In 2020, a fifth (22%) of UK adults have a smart speaker in the home and 11% of all UK households own some kind of ‘smart home’ technology (including devices such as smart home security, smart lighting and smart heating).6
• Advertising is the main revenue source for many internet business models and has grown at a compound growth rate of 20% for the past five years,7 with the UK online advertising market generating £15.7bn in 2019.8
• 39% of the total time spent online by adult internet users in the UK in September 2019 was spent on Google-owned sites (which includes YouTube) and Facebook-owned sites (including Instagram and WhatsApp).9 Google and Facebook sites combined had an estimated 78% of UK online advertising revenues in 2019.10
Covid-19 impact: time spent online reaches record levels, though digital advertising revenues are forecast to decline for the first time
• In April 2020, internet users in the UK spent an average of 4 hours 2 minutes online each day, 37 minutes more each day per online adult compared with January 2020.11
• In April 2020, the reach of education (+3 percentage points), health (+5pp) and government (+5pp) sites had all grown since January, while UK users of news sites spent more than three
1 Source: Comscore MMX Multi-Platform, Total Internet, Adults 18+, Sep 2018 & 2019 2 BARB, Avg. Daily Minutes based on adults in TV households, Adults 18+, Sep 2019 3 RAJAR 2019 Q3, Adults 18+ listeners; excludes internet listening; 3-month weight 4 Comscore MMX Multi-Platform, Age: 18+, Sep 2019, UK. 5 Ofcom Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker 2019 6 Ofcom Technology Tracker 2020 7 Oliver & Ohlbaum estimates and analysis, based on data from AA/WARC, PwC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook, Enders Analysis (based on company data and AA/WARC), Zenith, Statista, the e-Commerce Foundation, company reporting and public filings. UK adjusted for CPI at 2019 prices by Ofcom. 8 2019 IAB UK & PwC, Digital Adspend Study 9 Comscore MMX Multi-Platform, Age: 18+, Sep 2019, UK. 10 Ofcom calculation, based on gross revenue data from AA/WARC and Oliver & Ohlbaum analysis 11 Comscore MMX Multi-platform, Total Internet, Age: 18+, Jan 2020, April 2020

Online Nation 2020
minutes more on these sites on average each day, and users of social media sites spent more than 18 minutes more each day on average.12 • TikTok increased its reach among adults in the UK from 5.4 million to 12.9 million between January and April 2020; Houseparty increased from 175,000 to 4 million; Zoom reached 13 million adult internet users in April, up from 659,000 in January.13 • People are using a range of sources to access news about the coronavirus, with BBC services the most popular source of news. At the height of the crisis, around half said they had seen false or misleading information about the coronavirus in the last week.14 • Although 2019 was another year of growth for online advertising, the latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure report forecasts that the impact of the coronavirus in 2020 will result in year-on-year declines in paid search and online display advertising for the first time.15
More people in the UK are using their mobiles to access online games, and engaging with game content across a range of social platforms
• In 2019, 16% of all adults played games online, rising to 48% among 16-24 year-olds,16 and 59% of 5-15 year-olds.17
• In 2009, 27% of adults played games on a dedicated console, falling to 16% in 2019, while the proportion playing games on mobiles increased from 6% to 23%.18
• UK revenues for games software exceeded £3.8bn in 2019, compared to £2.6bn for video and £1.4bn for music.19
• One in ten (9%) UK game-playing adults have used a games social network such as Steam or Xbox Live in the past month. Of those who use the communication features of games and gamerelated platforms, a third (33%) talk to friends more via these platforms than via other forms of online communication, and more than half (53%) talk about a wider range of topics than the games they are playing.
• Fifteen percent of adults and almost two in five (37%) 18-24 year-olds say they watch videos of gameplay on services such as YouTube or Twitch every month. 56% of 8-15 year olds say they watch game videos online.
• A fifth (21%) of adults who watch gaming videos say that they prefer watching other people playing video games to playing games themselves.
• 4% of game-playing adults say they spend money each month on supporting a streamer, increasing to 8% for 18-24 year-olds.
• 15% of UK adult players have played games on a social media platform.20
12 Comscore MMX Multi-Platform, Adults 18+, Jan 2020 and Apr 2020, UK 13 Comscore MMX Multi-Platform, Age: 18+, Jan, April 2020, UK. 14 Ofcom Covid-19 news and information: consumption and attitudes 15 Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report (press release), 30 April 2020 16 Ofcom Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker 2019 17 Ofcom Parents’ and Children’s Media Literacy Tracker 2019 18 Ofcom Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker 2019 19 Entertainment Retailers Association, 2020 Yearbook Statistics 20 Ofcom online games research 2020 (children and adults)

Online Nation 2020
Young people are particularly heavy users of video-sharing platforms (VSPs), which let users engage with a range of content and social features
• 90% of adults and 98% of children aged 8-15 who use the internet have used a VSP in the past year. 32% of these adults report spending more time watching videos on VSPs than watching live broadcast TV, rising to 57% among 18-24 year-olds.21
• UK adult visitors to YouTube spent an average of 29 minutes on the site every day in September 2019. 18-24s spent more than twice as long as average on YouTube, at 65 minutes every day.22
• Video-sharing sites are characterised by a long tail of content. The top 20 most-viewed channels on YouTube accounted for just one fifth (21.5%) of total time spent on the platform by adults in September 2019.23
• 40% of adults and 59% of 8-15s who use video-sharing sites have made a video and uploaded it online. Among adults who post videos on video-sharing sites, 49% say they do this to share their experiences with friends or family, while 17% of adults who upload videos on VSPs report receiving money or gifts from their videos.
• 45% of adults and 54% of 8-15 year olds who use a VSP say they comment on others’ videos at least once a week. 61% of adults say they mostly do this on the videos of people they know personally. 24
Most internet users use online messaging and calling services and use increased during the coronavirus pandemic
• In February 2020, 73% of UK adult internet users used online text messages, 54% use online voice calls, 35% use video calls and 55% use emails, at least weekly. Nine in ten adult internet users used any of those four services at least weekly.
• The level of use of WhatsApp for text messaging was very similar to the use and reach of SMS among adult internet users.25 Although more adult internet users report having used SMS (94%) than WhatsApp (71%) for text messaging in the last 12 months, on a daily basis they are using WhatsApp (40%) and SMS (41%) to a similar extent.
• Until early this year, online video calling was used much less than other online communication services, with 35% of online adults using online video calling at least weekly in the 12 months to February 2020.26 In May 2020, this had doubled to 71% of online adult consumers using online video calling services at least weekly, with 38% using them at least daily. Our research suggests that 7% of adult internet users used video calling for the first time as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 27
21 Ofcom video-sharing platforms research 2020 (children and adults) 22 Comscore MMX Multi-Platform,, Age: 18+, Sep 2019, UK. Note: Excludes TV set use. 23 Comscore MMX Multi-Platform, YouTube partners report, Age: 18+, Sep 2019, UK. Note: Excludes TV set use 24 Ofcom video-sharing platforms research 2020 25 SMS stands for short message service, a widely used type of text messaging sent over mobile networks. 26 Ofcom online communication services research 2020 27 Ofcom Covid-19 news and information: consumption and attitudes

Online Nation 2020
Many users continue to express confidence in their abilities online, though concerns about potential harms online remain high • According to our 2019 adults’ media literacy research, 87% of internet users said they were
confident in their online abilities generally, while almost three-quarters (73%) said they were confident that they could manage who has access to their personal data online.28 • Only about half (53%) of all adults identified advertising as the main source of funding for search engines,29 broadly in line with understanding among 12-15 year-olds (54%).30 • A sizable minority of internet users (45%) said they were not happy for companies to collect and use their personal information under any circumstances, up by six percentage points since 2018. 31 • According to our latest research into internet users’ concerns about and experience of potential online harms, most (57%) 12-15 year-olds agree that the internet makes children’s lives better, and most (66%) adults agree that the benefits of going online outweigh the risks. • Nevertheless, the majority say they have concerns about going online (89% of 12-15s, 86% of adults) and have had a potentially harmful experience online in the past year (81% 12-15s, 62% of adults). • Like last year, social media is the most commonly cited source of potentially harmful experiences, among both adults and children. 20% of adults who have experienced a potential harm identify social media as the most recent source, followed by email (16%), search engines (8%) and instant messengers (8%). Meanwhile, 30% of 12-15s identify social media as a source of potential harm that they have experienced, followed by email (13%), instant messengers (12%) and videosharing sites (8%). • A fifth of adult internet users (19%) and a third of 12-15s (29%) say they have acted to report harmful content that they have seen online.32
28 Ofcom Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker 2019 29 Ofcom Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker 2019 30 Ofcom Parents’ and Children’s Media Literacy Tracker 2019 31 Ofcom Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker 2019 32 Internet users’ concerns about and experience of potential online harms (“Ofcom-ICO research 2020”)

Online Nation 2020

1. The online consumer


Key metrics

Figure 1.1: UK online consumer market: key metrics

UK online consumer market
Internet take-up (%)

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020











Smartphone take-up 27











Tablet take-up (%)











Laptop take-up (%)











Consideration that











the smartphone is the

most important

device for internet

access (%)

Source: Ofcom Technology Tracker 2011-2020.

Figure 1.2: Proportion of UK population who ever go online, at home or elsewhere, by age

3-4 5-7 8- 12- 16- 25- 35- 45- 55- 65- 75+ 11 15 24 34 44 54 64 74

Incidence of going online, by age (%)

57 77 92 99 98 100 98

93 83 70 49

Source: Ofcom Parents’ and Children’s Media Literacy Tracker 2019, ages 3-15; Ofcom Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker 2019, ages 16+. Note: Children’s figures based on users who ‘ever go online at home or elsewhere’.

This chapter examines the take-up, use and experience of online services by people in the UK. Using data from Comscore, the UKOM-accredited online audience measurement currency,33 it considers time spent and the most popular sites and apps used in the UK. And using research conducted by Ofcom and others into media literacy and the take-up of different technologies, it explores consumers’ experiences of and attitudes towards online services.

Using data from our 2020 quantitative and qualitative research into internet users’ concerns about and reported experience of potential online harms (referred to as our “online harms research”

33 The UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM) was formed in 2009 with a mandate from the advertising industry to establish measurement standards for digital media. UKOM appointed Comscore as its exclusive partner for online media audience measurement in the UK in 2012.

Online Nation 2020
throughout this report), conducted jointly with the Information Commissioner’s Office, we also consider headline concerns and experiences of potential harms online. Finally, the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted how integral the internet is in maintaining communication with one another, for finding sources for information and entertainment and purchasing essentials. After considering consumer behaviours and attitudes in 2019, the chapter goes on to explore online behaviours between January and April 2020 in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
Internet take-up and use
87% of the UK adult population use the internet
Ofcom research shows that 87% of adults aged 16+ in the UK used the internet in 2019,34 a figure that has not changed significantly over the past five years.35 Data from Comscore show that 44 million adults aged 18+ accessed the internet in September 2019 (our sample month), up from 43.5 million adults in the previous year.36 As shown in Figure 1.3, younger age groups are more likely to use the internet. Nevertheless, there has been a gradual increase in the proportion of internet users who are over-54, reflecting growing take-up among older adults. Figure 1.3: UK population and online UK population composition, by age
Source: Comscore MMX Multi-Platform, Total Internet, Adults 18+, Sep 2017, Sep 2018 & Sep 2019, UK; ONS 2017-2018, 2019 data indicative, UK.
34 Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker 2019 35 More recent Ofcom research from our 2020 technology tracker suggests that 89% of households in the UK have access to the internet, up from 87% in 2019. This is probably linked to an increase in households which only use smartphones to go online, up from 3% in 2019 to 5% in 2020, while take-up of fixed broadband has remained stable at 80%. Ofcom Technology Tracker 2020. 36 Comscore MMX Multi-Platform, Total Internet, Adults 18+, Sep 2018 & 2019

Online Nation 2020
Thirteen per cent of adults aged 16+ never go online, a figure that has been consistent since 2014. Older adults and DE adults are more likely than average to be non-internet users (27% of DE adults, 30% of 65-74s and 51% of adults aged 75+). Working-age adults (16-64s) in DE households are more than four times as likely as those in non-DE households to not use the internet (13% vs. 3%), showing that differences in non-use of the internet are driven both by age and by socio-economic group. Our 2020 Technology Tracker research suggests that 2% of households with children do not have access to the internet at home.37 A lack of interest/not seeing the need remains the main reason cited by more than half of non-users for not going online (52%).38 Figure 1.4: Main reason for not going online: 2019
Source: Ofcom Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker 2019. Question: IN8B. (SHOWCARD) Which one of the following best describes the main reason why you don’t go online? (SINGLE CODE). Base: Those who do not go online (185)
Related to their lower internet use, our 2019 media literacy research also indicates that over-65s and adults in DE households are less likely to use online banking (53% and 46% respectively, compared to 73% among all adults), to complete government processes such as renewing passports or driving licences online (44% of over-65s and 47% of DE households, compared to 59% among all adults), or to look online for public services information (39% among DE households, compared to 54% among all adults).39
37 Ofcom Technology Tracker 2020 38 Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker 2019 39 Adults’ Media Literacy Tracker 2019