Mobile interest access reaches saturation point: ONS

Mobile internet access has exploded, with the latest report from the ONS Internet Access – Households and Individuals 2015  stating that nearly all (96 per cent) of British adults aged 16-24 browse ‘on-the-go’.

The use of mobile internet remains a predominantly younger pastime however, with on 29 per cent of those over 65 browsing in such a manner.

Overall the increase in mobile internet use has been driven by smartphone penetration and access to 4G and the 2015 is nearly four times that of the stat boasted in 2010, at 24 per cent.

The internet was accessed every day, or almost every day, by 78 per cent of adults (39.3 million) in the UK in 2015, compared with 35 per cent (16.2 million) in 2006, when directly comparable records began. The ONS reported continuing growth in social networking, used by 61 per cent of adults, and of those, 79 per cent did so every day or almost every day.

In 2015, 76 per cent of adults bought goods or services online, up from 53 per cent in 2008. “Clothes or sports goods” were purchased by 55 per cent of adults, making them the most popular online purchase.

In the last 3 months, the report said that  22 per cent of adults purchased online once or twice, while 28  per cent of adults purchased 11 or more times. Online purchases totalling £100 to £499 were made by 42 per cent of adults who had bought online in the last 3 months.

The ONS report also found that around a quarter of mobile internet users make a purchase on their phone or use it to find nearby retail outlets, while over half (54 per cent) of UK homes now own a tablet device. And, while a quarter of shoppers are buying products on smartphones, a significant proportion of consumers are using mobile devices within a longer purchase journey.

What is increasingly apparent from looking at the numbers from the ONS is that retailers need to look beyond simply providing a store. They must find new ways to ‘attract and engage’ customers through devices wherever they are, “whether walking past a shop window, waiting for a bus, or browsing online at home.

Many believe that mobile engagement holds the key to uniting online and physical sales, creating a single seamless experience to match consumer expectations. With the report showing that mobile internet access and smartphone ownership are reaching saturation point, it appears retailers now have the opportunity to move their shopping experience above and beyond the current methods of attracting, entertaining and selling to customers.

Download the report from the Office of National Statistics here.