The latest data from the Office of National Statistics n the UK shows that, for the first time ever, over half of adults accessed social networking sites in 2011. The annual British Internet Habits survey showed that in 2011, 57% of over-16s in the UK are using the internet for social networking, as opposed to 43% in 2010. This is a significant landmark, and the rate of growth is impressive and it shows the importance of social networking in the lives of British adults.
Digging deeper into these statistics we can start to understand more about use of social networking in the UK:
Women are more likely than men to have used social networks, with 60% of them using such sites in 2011 (compared with 54% of men)
Social networks are all but ubiquitous for the 16-24 year olds, with 91% of this age range using them. Usage is high for the 25-34 year old (76%) and 35-44 year olds (58%).
Almost one in five of those aged 65+ use social networks (18%)
Alongside this marked increase in the use of social networks in the last year, the survey data reveals more about how British adults are using the internet:
The most popular activity online is, unsurprisingly, to find information about good or services that people want to buy – this reinforces the importance of his channel in the education and buying process
Men are more likely than women to consume news online (57% compared with 47%)
Almost one in three UK adults (31%) have sold their own goods online
Professional networking (such as LinkedIn) is most popular with those aged 25-34 and 25-44
The use of internet for phone calls is increasing – with 29% of UK adults making a call over the Internet in 2011
Internet access from mobile devices is increasing dramatically – with 45% of UK adults accessing the Internet from these devices, up from 31% in 2010.
However, this data also highlights the 23% of the UK population who have no access to the Internet at home, with half of these people saying that they have no need for the Internet at all.