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“People in the UK are spending twice as much time online compared to 10 years ago, fuelled by increasing use of tablets and smartphones”, according to Ofcom.

Ofcom’s Media Use and Attitudes 2015 report has been recently released with some insightful data around online behaviour and user expectations in the UK.

We looked closely at the report and picked the 5 most relevant data that shows why businesses must understand their customers and how to engage with them via multiple channels.

1. Internet users aged 16 and above spend between 20 and 27 hours online each week

Internet users aged 16 and above spent over 20 hours and 30 minutes online each week in 2014. Those between 16-24 year olds spent 27 hours and 36 minutes online each week.

That is a significant amount of time and a great opportunity to connect with your target audience and increase brand awareness.

2. People spend over 2 hours online while on the go

The amount of time people are online while on the go – away from home, work or their place of study – has increased to 2 hours and 18 minutes in 2014.

Add this to the fact that Google decided to provide higher ranking to mobile optimised websites and you have a strong indication that mobile and tablet are key channels to your business.

3. 90% of mobile phone users send regular text messages and 42% use instant messaging apps

Instant messaging has become even more popular, driven by services including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

The implications here are many and still being discovered by businesses because users are moving to more private channels, away from advertising and branded messaging.

Understanding how you can take advantage of these tools to provide great customer services is crucial.

4. More users are concerned about security, fraud and privacy

20% of mobile users are concerned about security, fraud or privacy. This is relevant to all businesses dealing with sensitive customer data.

FinTech start-ups as well as traditional financial institutions should pay close attention to these concerns.

As many of these companies are trying to reduce barriers to adoption, it’s important to find the right balance between ease of use and security levels.

5. The majority of users (68%) are happy to provide personal information online if they believe they will benefit in some way

But more people say they would never provide their credit or debit card details (21%) or their mobile number (26%).

It is interesting to see that despite online retail sales having reached £44.97bn (according to E-consultancy) in 2014, there is still a concern in making online payments by 21% of online users.

We may see a rise in new alternative payment methods such as Apple Pay, cryptocurrencies, sending money via instant messaging apps and others.

Final thoughts

Excuse us for our provocative headline. Obviously there are other reasons to get your strategy right and this list is not exhaustive, but these are facts that any Product Manager should be aware of and investigate further in the context of their digital services.

Considering that mobile and tablet usage will increase and with the growing adoption of new wearable devices as well as internet connectivity in airplanes, underground and remote areas, the amount of time spent online tends to go up too.

With that in mind, it’s important to understand your users, their needs and motivations, how and when they engage with your services online to shape a strong multi-channel strategy.

Cover Photo by William Iven 

Infographic by Ofcom

Read the full report by Ofcom