Mobile phone use is growing faster in Scotland than any other part of the UK, according to an annual report, but that doesn’t mean we’re racing ahead, we’re just catching up.
In 2013, the broadcasting regulators’ annual ‘Communications Market Report: Scotland’ showed that that 44% of connected Scots are accessing the web from a mobile, up 13 percentage points from last year.
The news doesn’t mean we’re digitally ahead of our neighbours, because Scotland has traditionally lagged behind the rest of the UK and the sudden spurt just shows it’s finally catching up.
In a press statement, Ofcom says: “This increase has been partly driven by the rise in smartphone ownership in Scotland: up 13 percentage points to 45 per cent of adults, but still below the UK average of 51 per cent. But Scotland has the highest satisfaction levels for connecting to the internet via a mobile network. Ninety-three per cent were satisfied with their ability to do so, compared to the UK average of 88 per cent. Overall, the research shows that Scotland is starting to catch up in the mobile market. A seven percentage point rise in take-up brings mobile ownership to 92 per cent and use of pay-monthly mobiles to 58 per cent – levels comparable with the UK averages.”
The report also showed that a quarter of households in Scotland now have a tablet computer with take-up more than doubling, from 11 per cent to 24 per cent, equal to the UK average.
It said: “Those in Scotland most likely to have purchased a tablet are aged 35-54 (43 per cent of whom had one in their household) and from higher-income households (40 per cent of those with an annual household income of £17,500 and above).”
Where it does demonstrate that Scots are ahead, is the numbers show they are making greater use of online activities from mobiles than the UK averages, specifically:
- visiting websites (50 per cent compared to UK’s 39 per cent)
- accessing email (45 per cent compared to UK’s 37 per cent)
- social networking (44 per cent compared to UK’s 37 per cent)
That is perhaps an unusual statistic given that much of Scotland is without 3G, but it does give some food for thought for website owners who haven’t got a mobile website.
According to the numbers in this report, visiting websites is the most popular online activity of Scottish mobile users, yet it’s the one area which businesses have been slow to address.
Converting a website to work on mobiles is often easier then many think.
At Canary Dwarf, we have customers with significantly higher than average mobile use, sometimes up to 65 per cent, whereas others have as little as four per cent. It’s important for businesses to identify how great their need is for mobile compatibility and whether the costs are likely to be returned by any investment in this area, or whether there are more important priorities.