40 Intriguing Stats on Internet Usage in the UK for 2021

Almost everyone uses the internet nowadays, whether for social media, doing research, paying bills, or entertainment. 

But have you ever wondered just how widespread internet use is? Or how many people in the UK have access to high-speed connections?

To give you the answers, we’ve put together some fantastic stats on internet usage in the UK. 

Keep on reading.  

Key Internet Usage Statistics in the UK to Keep You Connected in 2021

  • There are 62 million monthly active internet users in the UK. 
  • 46.6 million people in the UK access the internet daily.  
  • Sending and receiving e-mails is the most common internet activity.
  • Great Britain has a higher internet penetration rate than the US.
  • Mobile internet penetration should reach 93.59% by 2025. 
  • 34% of British internet users went on an online shopping mania in 2020.
  • 66% of British people use social media.
  • About 70% of owners of smart speaker devices use these devices daily. 
  • WhatsApp is the most popular app on the Google Play store.
  • EE is one of the fastest mobile internet providers.

Internet Usage Statistics

1.There are 62 million monthly active internet users in the UK. 

(Statista) (DataReportal)

In January 2020, an estimated 65 million people in the UK used the internet. This is an increase of 0.4% compared to the previous year, i.e. the number of internet users in the UK went up by 0.4%.

2. What percentage of the UK has Internet?

(The Office for National Statistics) 

96% of UK households use the internet, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics points out. This figure shows an increase of 3% compared to the previous year when 93% of households had access to the internet. 

But how many homes in the UK do not have internet? Only 4-5% do not have a web connection, mainly because of security concerns and personal data.

3. The average download rate in May 2020 in the UK was 64Mb.

(ISPreview)

Despite the current global pandemic holding up almost every aspect of life, the average broadband speeds available to UK citizens have increased from 54.2Mbps in 2019 to 64Mbps in 2020. Upload speeds, on the other hand, went up from 7.2Mbps to 14Mbps.

4. What is the average time that people spend on the internet in the UK?

(Ofcom) 

Users spend an average of 4 hours and 2 minutes online each day, reports from April 2020 show. Not only has time spent online increased by 37 minutes compared to four months ago, but this is also the first time that UK adults have spent more than four hours on the internet since 2015. 

5. 46.6 million people in the UK access the internet daily.  

(The Office for National Statistics) 

Figures on the frequency of internet use show that 89% or 46.6 million UK citizens go online daily. Only 4% of UK internet users go online weekly, while 2% access the net less than once a week. The remaining 5% of users, on the other hand, haven’t used the internet in the last three months.

6. The UK bought over 10 million domains in December 2020. 

(Nominet) 

Recent research from Nominet reveals there were 9,533,899 third-level domains and 1,317,481 second-level domains. These domains range from academic and commercial to government, non-profit, and other websites.

7. Google is the number one search engine in the UK by market share. 

(Statista) 

Judging by search engine market share in the UK, Google leads with an 86.59% stake. Bing and Yahoo are far behind with 9.96% and 1.87% of the market, respectively. Last but not least is DuckDuckGo with a small share of 0.78%. 

8. Sending and receiving e-mails is the most common internet activity.

(Statista) 

A staggering 85% of British households use the web to send and receive emails, internet usage statistics from the UK indicate. A slightly smaller percentage (81%) use the net to search for information, while 70% use it to access social networking platforms. Other uses of the internet in the UK include online banking (76%), access to instant messaging services (71%), and reading news (70%).

9. Great Britain has a higher internet penetration rate than the US. 

(Dateportal) (Statista)

Although the number of active internet users in the US is significantly larger than in the UK, Great Britain boasts a higher penetration rate. In the UK, 96% of residents have internet access, while the same is true for 85% of Americans. 

Internet Usage Growth Trends

10. A growing number of UK households access the net.

(The Office of National Statistics)

A comparison between 2018 and 2020 points to a rising number of internet users in the UK. While only 90% of households had internet access in 2018, that percentage rose to a whopping 96% in the first two months of 2020. Surprisingly, the highest growth was noted among adults aged 65 and over, going up from 59% in 2018 to 80% in 2020.  

11. Mobile internet penetration should reach 93.59% by 2025.

(Statista)

With the expansion of technology, comes the growth of mobile internet usage. In 2020, 90.3% of British people had internet access on their phones, while projections indicate that the number will increase to almost 94% by 2025. 

12. The number of users accessing the net via mobile device increased from 25% to 35% in just two years. 

(Ofcom)

The number of mobile internet users continues to grow. Meanwhile, data regarding computer usage indicate a significant decline.

A comparison between mobile vs desktop internet usage statistics for 2017 and 2019 reveals the following:

  • The number of users who only access the net through their laptops and PCs dropped from 12% to 4%. 
  • The percentage of users who employ both mobile devices and computers to go online declined from 63% to 60%.
  • The number of internet users who go online via smartphones or tablets increased by 10%. 

13. What time of the day has the most internet traffic in the UK?

(BBC) 

Reports from the Office of National Statistics show that the best time to be online is 9 PM on Wednesdays. Web traffic generally peaks around 9 PM on weekdays and at 1 PM on weekends, while it falls around 6 PM on weekdays, as well as on weekends and bank holidays. The internet is the quietest between 2 AM and 7 AM. 

Internet Usage Statistics By Demographics

 

14. 98% of people between the ages of 35 and 44 access the internet daily. 

(The Office of National Statistics)

An average of 98% of adults aged 35 and 44 go online every day. However, this percentage is nothing compared to younger generations. Recent data from ONS indicate that 100% of Brits from 16 to 34 go online every day or almost every day. 

15. 10% of adults aged 65 and over go online at least once a week.

(The Office of National Statistics)

The percentage of older adults who use the internet may be lower than younger age groups, but it’s still substantial. Namely, internet usage statistics reveal that 67% of seniors in the UK access the net at least once a day and 5% go online less than once a week. 

16. An almost equal share of men and women in the UK use the internet. 

(The Office of National Statistics) 

Official internet use statistics tell us that 90% of men go online every day compared to 89% of females. What’s more, 4% of both men and women access the net at least once a week. In contrast, 5% of men and 6% of women in Britain did not go online in the first three months of 2020.

17. The share of internet users with higher education is growing. 

(Statista)

In the last nine years, there has been an increase in the number of internet users, both among adults with higher education as well as those with no qualifications. The share of users who only had a basic education, however, declined. Reports reveal that the number of internet users with a basic education level went down from 80% in 2011 to 70% in 2019.

18. London and the South East Region had the highest share of internet users in the UK. 

(The Office for National Statistics)

According to reports on UK internet usage by area, 93% of residents in London and the South East accessed the net in the first three months of 2019—making these the two regions with the most recent internet users. 

On the other hand, Northern Ireland had the smallest percentage of recent internet usage with 87% of the people in this region going online in Q1 2019. 

Reasons for Using the Internet in the UK

19. 34% of British internet users went on an online shopping mania in 2020.

(The Office for National Statistics)

34% of UK internet users made at least eleven online purchases during the first three months of 2020. In terms of age groups, 25 to 34 year-olds were the most frequent online shoppers (99%), whereas adults over 65 were the least keen on internet shopping (65%).

Other interesting information from the ONS report on online shopping include: 

  • 42% of British people spent £100-£499 on online purchases, whereas 13% spent less than £50.
  • 55% of the purchases were made for clothes, including sports clothing, shoes, and accessories. 
  • 32% of the purchases went to food delivery from restaurants, fast-food chains, and catering services. 
  • Only 8% used the internet to buy vehicles, such as cars, bicycles, or mopeds.

20. 76% of people living in Great Britain used online banking.  

(The Office for National Statistics)

As a result of the global pandemic, 76% of the people in the UK, both men and women, used online banking as a handy tool to manage their finances while staying at home. 

However, only 7% used the net to take out a loan from banks and other financial providers, showing that there is still a lack of trust when it comes to lending and online security. Perhaps UK internet users in 2021 will have a different take on things.

21. More than 40% of British people make video and voice calls over the internet. 

(The Office for National Statistics)

Out of all the users surveyed, 49% said that they used Skype, Zoom, Facetime, and other services to connect and talk to someone online. 71% of users, on the other hand, use WhatsApp or Skype to send instant messages rather than make calls. 

22. Over 15% of UK internet users go online to sell goods or address health concerns. 

(The Office for National Statistics)

According to the ONS bulletin, 21% of the British people sold goods and provided services on the internet. For the most part, this activity included adults between the ages of 45 to 54. 

Another 21% of Brits used the net to make an appointment with a medical practitioner and 15% engaged in other health services, such as online consultations and filling out prescriptions. 

23. 13% of Britons did online courses in 2020.

(The Office for National Statistics)

The internet can be used both for entertainment and education. Thus, last year, 13% took online courses, 21% used the internet at home to gain access to learning material, and 10% to communicate with tutors or students. 

Internet Usage by Type of Content

24. 66% of British people use social media.

(Dateportal)

A total of 45 million people are active social media users in the UK, which translates to about 66% of the entire population. Of these users, 98% access their social networking accounts through a mobile device.

25. 85% of UK adults watch online videos. 

(Dateportal)

Online content and media consumption statistics in the UK report that the majority of users (85%) access the net to watch videos. More than half (55%) listen to music on streaming services, and 36% listen to radio stations. A smaller percentage, or 28%, listen to podcasts or watch vlogs online.

26. Gaming is the most popular online activity among youngsters. 

(The Office for National Statistics)

Unsurprisingly, from the 41% of British internet users who play or download online games, 63% are aged between 16 and 24. This age group makes up the largest share of online gamers, followed by 25 to 34-year-olds, 57% of who play or download games on the internet. 

An equally unsurprising fact—men play online games more frequently than women (43 vs 39%, respectively).

Internet Usage Statistics by Device

27. Mobile phones remain the most popular device for accessing the net.

(DataReportal)

In December 2019, 48.3% went online via mobile phone. A slightly lower percentage used laptops and desktops to access the web (44.1%), while tablets were used by only 7.3% of the population. 

28. About 70% of owners of smart speaker devices use these devices daily. 

(Code Computerlove)

What’s more, two in ten use virtual assistants more than once a day and 90% use them at least once a week, stats about internet usage and connected devices indicate. Based on a 2019 survey on virtual assistant usage in the UK, these devices are used for anything from making purchases (10% of users) to news and weather reports (61%). 

When it comes to the most popular brands, Amazon’s Alexa takes the lead (owned by 80% of respondents), followed by Google Home (28%) and Apple Homepod (3%). 

29. Over 18% of UK households used the internet to manage their smart home. 

(The Office for National Statistics)

The latest information from ONS on internet usage statistics in the UK tells us that: 

  • 18% of households used the internet to control lighting in their home
  • 8% have internet-connected security systems
  • Only 2% own internet-connected home appliances

IoT devices’ low usage is primarily due to lack of necessity, as 69% of households said they do not need connected devices. 18% and 19% have privacy and security concerns, respectively, whereas 8% believe these systems are too expensive. 

30. 57% of respondents in a UK survey watch video content on a SmartTV. 

(Statista)

With so many streaming TV services and advances in smart TV technology, there is no doubt as to why such a high percentage of respondents would choose these devices to consume video content. 

Most Popular Websites and Apps

31. What are the most visited websites in the UK?

(Statista)

Google was voted the most essential website in the UK. 

When asked which website UK internet users could not do without, Google ranked first, followed by BBC and Amazon. Amazon also saw more views compared to 2017, while the popularity of Facebook declined significantly.

32. WhatsApp is the most popular app on the Google Play store.

(Statista) 

According to the number of daily active users, Whatsapp was the most used app on Android devices. As of October 2020, more than 3 million Google Play subscribers used this app on a daily basis. 

33. The NHS Covid-19 app was downloaded over 20 million times, internet usage statistics in the UK report. 

(BBC)

This contact-tracing app was launched in September and is available only to users in England and Wales. Despite this, it was downloaded a total of 20,056,685 times both on iPhones and Android platforms.

Top Internet Providers in the UK

34. EE is one of the fastest mobile internet providers.

(Broadband) (4G)

The UK has four main broadband providers, facts on internet usage reveal. First in line is EE with a whopping 36.4Mbps download speed and a 5G presence in more than 60 cities. By contrast, O2, Three, and Vodafone have a slower download speed (O2 with 18.2Mbps, Three with 22.2Mbps, and Vodafone with 22.4Mbps).

35. Who is the best internet provider in the UK?

(Choose)

9.3 million users get their internet connection through BT, making it the most popular internet provider in the country. Although profits for the company have recently gone down by 2%, the ISP giant has no intention of slowing down its growth. Namely, BT recently introduced a superfast full-fibre package with download speeds of 900Mbit/s, dubbed the “next-generation broadband”.

36. Sky is the second biggest internet provider. 

(Choose)

With 6.2 million in 2019, Sky ranks second on the list of the biggest UK internet providers. This company is closely followed by Virgin Media, which boasts 5.28 million users, whereas TalkTalk, with 4.2 million subscribers, rounds of the four biggest ISPs in the UK. 

Internet Usage in the UK and Impacts of Covid-19

37. The number of Tik Tok subscribers increased from 5.4 million to 12.9 million in the first four months of 2020. 

(Ofcom)

Forced to spend more time at home, people in the UK needed some outlet for their creativity. Hence, the popular social media app TikTok. Social media usage statistics show that in the short period from January 2020 to April 2020, the number of TikTok users in the UK went up by an impressive 7.5 million users.

38. People are not just creating online content, but they are also watching more. 

(Ofcom)

Once lockdown was initiated, one in three users stated that they watch online videos more than traditional TV. Furthermore, sites like above mentioned TikTok, as well as YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram were used by at least nine in ten adults and nearly all children from 8 to 15 years old.

39. Zoom saw the highest growth as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. 

(Ofcom)

This virtual meeting platform reached 13 million users by April 2020, up from just 659,000 UK adults in January of the same year. This amazing growth of nearly 2000%, recorded by UK internet usage statistics, is solely due to the pandemic. As people were sheltered-in-place, Zoom was used for anything from online classes and remote work meetings to catching up with friends and family.

40. BBC was the most researched website for coronavirus news.

(Ofcom)

78% of adult Brits used BBC services as their go-to-source for upcoming news about the new virus. Moreover, compared to January 2020, BBC’s educational resource BBC Bitesize had a 7% higher reach among adults and was the most visited education site in April last year.

Conclusion

The internet can be a very effective tool if we know how to apply its use in daily life. 

As the latest data on internet usage in the UK show, technology and the internet are changing every second, we just have to remember to balance things out when it comes to using them. And reap the benefits.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *