Over half of UK households (56%) spend more time on the internet (including streaming) than watching TV, up from 49% in 2016, the results from EY’s latest annual digital home survey of 2,500 UK consumers reveal today. This is the first time that the internet has overtaken television to grab the largest share of household attention in the survey.
'Households now spend more time on the internet than watching TV'
Furthermore, 45% of households think the internet is very important in terms of working or running a business from home, up from 41% in 2016, a reminder that the modern household’s reliance on home connectivity now goes far beyond entertainment. In addition, half of households (49%) surveyed are now familiar with the features and benefits of smart home products, a sign that the latest forms of technology are also becoming more mainstream.
Drowning in digital
Despite the reliance on the internet for work and entertainment at home, many households are suffering from digital fatigue. More than four in ten consumers (41%) actively seek time away from their smartphones and other internet-enabled devices. This figure increases for 18-25 year olds (45%) and 25-34 year olds (50%), according to the survey’s results.
There is also evidence that consumers are now less excited about new gadgets than before. Only 29% of households agreed that they were ‘very interested in new gadgets and tended to purchase them before everybody else’, down from 34% in 2016.
Consumers also have increasing concerns over data privacy and security. Nearly three quarters of households (71%) are cautious about disclosing personal and financial information over the internet, even when using a site they know and trust. Despite improvements in online security over the years, this figure is up from 61% in 2016 and 52% in 2013. These concerns mean that instead of embracing the new, consumers are sticking with the safe, according to EY’s analysis. In 2017, 38% of consumers surveyed said they only ever use a small number of familiar websites up from 30% in 2016.
Praveen Shankar, Partner and Telecommunications Sector Leader, EY says: “Households are enjoying unprecedented levels of connectivity, transforming their social and home lives as well as their viewing and working habits. This is driving major changes in what they consume and how they do so. However, companies need to focus on allaying customers’ doubts about trust and privacy in order to maintain momentum and growth.”
Households still perceive value in the familiar and functional
Over three quarters (77%) of households now think of broadband as a utility like gas or electricity. Which might explain why 60% of consumers rate broadband reliability as more important than speed. Legacy services still have an important role to play for many households, with 40% still using their landlines at least once a week and 46% mainly watching the five traditional channels on TV.
Concluding, Adrian Baschnonga, Global Lead Telecommunications Analyst, EY says: “This year’s findings reveal that not all households are moving at the same speed towards a more digital world. Technology now permeates all aspects of our lives, yet higher levels of convenience are partnered by new sources of anxiety.
“Reliability and security are ever more important considerations for households. As a result, educating and reassuring customers will help build greater trust in the growing range of technology products and services for the home.”
To find out more please go to the website: www.ey.com/uk/tmtdigitalhome
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. With over 400 employees in our Cambridge and Luton offices, our teams provide a range of services to a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, life sciences, consumer products and retail, technology, real estate and construction, health, and the public sector. The broad array of companies across the East allows us to bring real, relevant and key insights to our clients.