New figures this morning suggest that the Brits have become a nation of online shoppers.
A new Ofcom report reveals that we also watch more TV online, use our mobiles more to go online and play more games on our phones.
Ofcom’s sixth International Communications Market report also reveals that the UK customers are paying lower prices for their communications than many consumers across the world.
The report found that eight in ten UK internet users (79 per cent) said they had ordered goods or services online in 2010, higher than any other European country.,
UK internet users were also more likely to visit retail websites online than other countries, with nine in ten (89 per cent) claiming to do so in 2011.
As well as more UK consumers shopping online, they also spent more time on retail sites,an average of 84 minutes in January 2011,compared with around 20 minutes for consumers in Poland and Italy.
Smartphone ownership nearly doubled in the UK between February 2010 and August 2011 (from 24 per cent to 46 per cent) and take-up was higher in the UK than among the other European countries surveyed .
The number of people using their mobiles to go online was also higher in the UK with nearly half (46 per cent) of UK internet users using their phones to go online in October 2011.
UK consumers were also more likely to play games on their phone (34 per cent compared with 16 per cent in France).
A quarter (25 per cent) of UK mobile users accessed news content on their mobiles, significantly higher than in other European countries.
They were less likely, however, to use the internet to make phone calls than in other countries. Just under a fifth (19 per cent) of UK broadband subscribers used services such as Skype to make internet phone calls, compared with 28 per cent in Italy and 26 per cent in France.
More and more advertisers are flocking to the internet across the globe, with the UK leading on the total proportion of advertising spent on the internet (29 per cent) – almost double the level for global internet advertising (15 per cent).
UK online advertising spend in 2010 was almost the same as TV advertising (30 per cent), increasing by 16 per cent to reach £4.1bn.
The UK’s love of TV continues, with over a quarter (27 per cent) of UK internet users saying they watched TV online every week, an increase of 3 percentage points from 2010, and higher than any of the other countries surveyed.
The popularity of a wide variety of free-to-view catch-up TV services such as BBC iPlayer has helped to drive online TV viewing in the UK says the report.
Overall, TV viewing in the UK increased by 7.6 per cent in 2010 compared with 2009, with the average person watching just over 4 hours of TV per day (242 minutes).
UK consumers are more likely to access social networking sites on a mobile phone than other countries, with 43 per cent of those with social networking site profiles saying they do so compared to just 30 per cent in the US.
However UK social networkers say they have fewer friends online (168) than Americans (198) or Italians (216) – but more than the French (108) or Germans (137).
Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said:
“Across the globe people are embracing e-commerce and social media with enthusiasm. Our research shows that the UK communications market is performing well with prices, the range of services and innovation standing up well against international benchmarks." adding
“There are also issues which we will monitor carefully, such as the future roll-out 4G mobile services. We are pressing ahead with plans to release this valuable spectrum at the end of next year which will enable new mobile services for consumers.”