Quarter of U.K. Population Uses Net, Say Analysts

[London, ENGLAND] The Internet is now used at least once a month or more by a quarter of the U.K. population, according to figures published Friday by Forrester Research.

The survey put questions to 65,000 Internet users in an online poll, combining the results with those from an offline poll of 2,000 people. The comparison enabled researchers to check how representative the online sample was of the U.K. population as a whole.

Growth of Internet usage has been steady rather than explosive in the U.K., up from 15 percent in December 1998 to 21 percent in May 1999, to 24 percent in November 1999 and topping 25 percent in May this year.

Forrester says that the total number of people with Internet access in the U.K. is now 19 million, of whom between 11.2 million and 12 million are regular users.

William Reeve, group director of European Data Products at Forrester, said that access to work had been an early driver to growth, but home use now accounts for 74 percent of Web use in the U.K. — up from 66 percent in November 1999.

“Subscription-free ISPs continue to drive adoption, and their profile and awareness is clearly visible in Web users’ behaviour. For instance 56 percent of users now see their ISP’s chosen homepage when they first go online, up from 47 percent in November 1999, 38 percent in May 1999, and 24 percent in December 1998,” said Reeve.

The fastest-growing group of Internet users in the U.K. is now blue-collar and manual workers, almost doubling since May 1999. Known in the marketing world as “C2Ds,” 15 percent use the Internet regularly, still well short of the 39 percent of “ABC1s,” but catching up fast.

So who is the typical British Internet user? According to Forrester he is a male 35-year-old Londoner with a degree, a mortgage, and an income of £22,000 ($33,000). He buys CDs, music, videos and DVDs online, but not much else.

Full details, rounding out the picture, can be found in the latest U.K. Internet User Monitor from Forrester Research.

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