KNOWLEDGE BASE Mobile - Internet Usage In The UK

 The information on this page was current at the time it was published. Regulations, trends, statistics, and other information are constantly changing. While we strive to update our Knowledge Base, we strongly suggest you use these pages as a general guide and be sure to verify any regulations, statistics, guidelines, or other information that are important to your efforts.


Brexit Update:
Since the UK officially left the European Union on January 31, 2020, the relationship between the two has evolved and continues to be shaped by the ongoing implementation of the withdrawal agreement.

Key Dates:

  • January 31, 2020: UK officially left the EU and entered a transition period that ended on December 31, 2020.

  • December 31, 2020: The transition period ended, and the UK fully exited the EU single market and customs union.

  • January 1, 2021: The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement came into effect, outlining the post-Brexit relationship between the two entities.

  • 2023/2024 Current: The UK and EU are still navigating the ongoing implementation and potential revisions of their post-Brexit relationship.

It's crucial for businesses operating in either the UK or the EU to stay informed about the latest developments and adjust their operations accordingly.


Mobile and Internet Usage in The UK 


The UK is network-ready and it’s people are digitally savvy. The UK boasts high internet penetration, with 97.8% of the population having internet access as of January 2023 , internet users in the UK increased by 224 thousand (+0.3 percent) between 2022 and 2023. UK users spend an average of 6 hours and 13 minutes online daily, slightly lower than the global average of 7 hours and 11 minutes

As of 2023, 98% of adults aged 16-24 in the UK own a smartphone, and overall ownership across all age groups is estimated to be 94%. Mobile phones would be the device most missed by adults.Nearly one in five internet users only go online via a smartphone.


Let’s take a look at some of the digital activities taking place in the UK.

The United Kingdom Ranked #10 out of 134 countries in Networked Readiness Index

The Networked Readiness Index 2023, which assesses the factors, policies, and institutions that enable a country to fully leverage information and communication technologies (ICTs) for increased competitiveness and well-being. The Networked Readiness Index (NRI) reveals the correlation between a country’s level of ICT uptake and the economic and social impacts ICTs have on its economy and society.The NRI Report maps the network-based readiness landscape of 134 economies based on their performances in four different pillars: Technology, People, Governance, and Impact, each of these pillars is itself comprised of three sub-pillars.

The UK's Digital Strategy is a cross-government strategy which sets out a coherent articulation of the government’s ambitious agenda for digital policy.The strategy focuses on 6 key areas which are digital foundations, ideas and intellectual property,digital skills and talent,financing digital growth,spreading prosperity and levelling up and enhancing the UK’s place in the world. You can find out more about this policy on the UK Government website.


Internet, mobile, purchase behavior, and social media in the United Kingdom

Not surprisingly, the UK is well-versed in the digital world. They are connected to and active on the internet, use their mobiles for more than just making calls, and are engaged in social media. To give you an idea for just how involved the British are:


Internet usage in the UK

Most households in the UK have access to the web, age of the household’s members being a factor in its likelihood.  The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) provides a lot of information in their Internet Access for Households and Individuals resources.  

While purchase rates vary by age group, as of February 2020 over 87% of all adults in the UK had shopped online within the past year. This represents a rise of 53% since 2008.The most common online purchase was for clothes, shoes and accessories, by 55% of adults, followed by deliveries from restaurants, fast-food chains or catering services, bought by 32% of adults.


Mobile usage in the UK

There are 111.8 million mobile subscriptions in the UK, 87m active mobile devices and 25m connected things 98% of the adult population have a mobile phone, making 1.37 active connections per head of population according to the Mobile Facts from Mobile UK.


Social Media usage in the UK

As of the third quarter of 2022, WhatsApp was the most active social network among internet users in the United Kingdom (UK), with nearly 75 percent of internet users reporting use of the service. Facebook was very close behind, with a rate of 70.7 percent, followed by Instagram with 56.4 percent.


Online security concerns in the UK

Cyber-enabled fraud continues to be one of the most significant threats facing UK businesses and citizens.In 2021, more than 80% of all reported UK fraud was cyber-enabled, but only 32% of UK citizens thought they were likely to become a victim. Over the past year, the UK government’s Cyber Aware campaign supported individuals and small businesses to significantly improve their cyber resilience. You can find more information about how the UK's cyber security measures on the National Cyber Security Centre website.


Internet storage space in the UK

The availability of internet storage space has grown in recent years with services such as iCloud, Dropbox, and Google Drive available for free, and the British are aware and using it.

  • In 2020, 49% of adults had used internet storage services

  • 16-24 year olds were the most likely to use internet storage space, at 75%

  • 65% of  25-34 and 35-44 year olds used internet storage space

Source: UK Office for National Statistics Internet Security and Internet Storage


It’s clear that a savvy online and mobile-friendly  presence is key to your success. There are great resources to help you understand your market, some of which are available online and others through a subscription. Having a mobile-ready version of your site, being on top of technical issues, and delivering on your promises will help you succeed.  

Globig Resources

Networked Readiness Index 2023

UK's Digital Strategy

UK Office for National Statistics (ONS)


Statcounter Global Stats to filter on a number of factors such as type of platform, browser, and operating system

Akamai State of the Internet Report

Mobile Facts from Mobile UK

National Cyber Security Centre website

Digital 2023: The United Kingdom

Statista - Social media usage in the United Kingdom (UK) - Statistics & Facts

OFCOM: Adults’ Media Use and Attitudes report 2023

UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports on  Internet Access - Households and Individuals 


KNOWLEDGE BASE Mobile - Internet Usage In The UK