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.



January 31st, 2020 Update: On March 29, 2017, UK Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, which formally started the process whereby the UK would leave the European Union. The original plan was for the UK to leave the EU on March 29th, 2019 but on October 28th, 2019, the EU agreed to push the extension deadline to January 31, 2020. 

The council agreed to conclude the withdrawal, and it  took effect at midnight on January 31st, 2020. After this date, the UK is no  longer an EU member state. This will obviously shift how business is done in the UK. We will keep updating this page to reflect these changes. 

Learn more about Brexit here. 



Mobile and Internet Usage in The UK 


The UK is network-ready and it’s people are digitally savvy.  And while showing slightly less daily time online than the world average, a high percentage of households have access to the internet and nearly 8 out of 10 people are online every day or nearly every day. They are one of the leading countries in online purchasing and most report that they do not have any security issues.

Smartphone ownership is high, with two-thirds reporting that they use their phones “on the go” to get online. Over a quarter of UK web traffic is via mobile and half of those with active social media accounts access them with their mobile devices.

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


The United Kingdom Ranked #8 out of 139 countries in Networked Readiness Index

The World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report 2016 features the latest iteration of the Networked Readiness Index, 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.  With a global ranking of 8, the World Economic Forum believes that the UK is well-positioned to utilize ICTs to its advantage.

Global Information Technology Report - UK

Global Information Technology Report - Full Report


Related to this topic, In 2012 the UK government launched a “digital by default” strategy whereby public services are being migrated online. This UK Digital Transformation began with work to move 25 services online, including information and forms for things such as registering to vote, Self Assessment tax returns, and the Registered Traveller service. They have a number of services completed and continue to build out more. Their premise is to provide information and services online “based on the needs of the users, not the needs of government”.

You can see a list of services that are live and others that are in beta or under development on the UK government's Digital Transformation page.


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.  

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.


Mobile usage in the UK

There are 96.97 million mobile connections in the UK, and 98% of the adult population haave mobile phones per  Mobile Facts from Mobile UK.  


Social Media usage in the UK

More than half of British adults are using social networking and spending just under the world average number of hours on it per day.

WhatsApp and Facebook top the charts by nearly double for the most-used social media platforms, with Instangram and Twitter following.


Online Purchase Behavior in the UK

While purchase rates vary by age group:

  • “Clothes or sports goods” were the most popular UK online purchase in 2021, bought by 55% of adults

  • “Deliveries from restaurants" were the next most popular, purchased online by 32% of the UK's adults

  • “Prnted books, magazines, or newpapers were purchased online by 29% of British adults

You can also find a number of statistics gathered by UK Office for National Statistics.


Online security concerns in the UK

Most of those surveyed in 2015 reported that they did not have any major security concerns. The largest number (17%) said that they had caught a virus which resulted in a loss of information or time.  Very few experienced the other problems in the other categories that were surveyed, though they are aware of internet security issues. Though most had not experienced security problems, of those who had used the internet in the last 12 months, their online activities were affected by security concerns:

  • 17% reported that security concerns had limited their providing personal information to online communities for social and professional networking

  • 14% limited their internet banking activities

  • 12% limited their internet purchasing


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


Global Information Technology Report - UK

Global Information Technology Report - Full Report


UK Government’s Digital Transformation program

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

Internet Live Stats users by country

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


KNOWLEDGE BASE Mobile - Internet Usage In The UK