The internet has become an integral part of our lives, changing the way we work, communicate, and access information.
As one of the most connected countries in the world, the United Kingdom has been at the forefront of this revolution. With millions of people using the internet every day, the UK’s internet statistics are a crucial measure of our online behavior and the impact of technology on society.
From social media usage to e-commerce trends, understanding the UK’s internet statistics is essential for businesses, policymakers, and individuals alike.
In this article, we list the most significant home Internet statistics for the UK, providing a snapshot of the country’s digital economy.
- Home Internet Statistics For the UK – 11 Key Metrics
Home Internet Statistics For the UK – 11 Key Metrics
1. Broadband Penetration
The UK has one of the highest fixed-line broadband penetration rates in Europe, with over 96% of households having access to broadband services. (UK Office for National Statistics)
- The average fixed-line broadband speed in the UK is around 70 Mbps, which is above the global average. (Cable.co.uk)
- The most popular broadband provider in the UK is BT, followed by Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, and Plusnet. (Ewe Compare)
- As of 2021, the number of fixed broadband connections in the UK was over 28 million. (Optical Connections News)
- The UK government has set a target of providing gigabit-capable broadband to at least 85% of UK households by 2025.
- According to Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, the average monthly cost of fixed-line broadband in the UK is around £30-£40, although prices can vary depending on the provider and the type of service.
- As of 2021, the average broadband speed in the UK is around 51.48 Mbps (Vodafone.co.uk)
- In March 2021 the median average download speed of UK home broadband connections was 50.4 Mbit/s (Ofcom)
- The average download speed for fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) connections is around 42.6 Mbit/s. (Ofcom)
- The average download speed for ADSL connections, which use copper phone lines, is around 10Mbps. (Cable.co.uk)
- The Greater London Area has an average monthly broadband usage of 506 GB per month
Chart: Cambridge Network
2. Household Expenditure on Broadband
- The average monthly household expenditure on broadband in the UK was £32.74 in 2020. (Ofcom)
- Households with superfast broadband (with download speeds of at least 30 Mbps) spent an average of £36.11 per month
- Households with standard broadband (with download speeds of less than 30 Mbps) spent an average of £26.35 per month.
3. Types of Broadband
Ofcom reports the following market share for different types of broadband is as follows:
- Fibre broadband (FTTC and FTTP) – 26% of all broadband connections
- ADSL broadband – 45% of all broadband connections
- Cable broadband – 27% of all broadband connections (provided exclusively by Virgin Media)
- Mobile broadband – 2% of all broadband connections
- Satellite broadband – less than 1% of all broadband connections
4. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the UK
- Virgin Media is the largest ISP in the UK, with a market share of 24.5% as of 2020.
- BT, which owns the Openreach infrastructure used by many other ISPs, has a market share of 22.9%.
- Sky Broadband is the third largest ISP, with a market share of 18.1%.
- TalkTalk and Vodafone are the fourth and fifth largest ISPs, with market shares of 8.7% and 7.2%, respectively (Financial Times)
- Other smaller ISPs, including Plusnet, EE, and Zen Internet, make up the remaining market share.
- average broadband speeds in the UK increased by 25% between 2019 and 2020, with the average speed now at 80Mbps. (Ofcom)
5. Mobile Internet Usage
- 74% of adults in the UK use a smartphone to access the internet. (Ofcom)
- As of January 2021, 97% of UK internet users accessed the internet through their mobile phone.
- The average time spent online on mobile devices in the UK was 3 hours and 23 minutes per day in 2020, up from 2 hours and 49 minutes in 2019, according to eMarketer.
- In terms of mobile internet browsing, Google Chrome was the most popular browser in the UK, accounting for 49% of mobile internet browsing in February 2021, followed by Safari with 31%.
- Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are among the most visited websites in the UK on mobile devices.
6. Households with Internet
- In 2021, 96% of households in the UK had internet access, with 98% of adults aged 16 to 24 years old being recent internet users. (Office for National Statistics)
- Additionally, the ONS reported that 61% of adults aged 65 years and over had used the internet in the last three months, which represents a significant increase from previous years.
- The proportion of households with broadband access has continued to increase, with 91% of households having access to broadband in 2021.
UK Internet users as a percentage of population – Chart: The Global Economy
7. Online Activities
- Social Media: Around 66% of the UK population uses social media, with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn being the most popular platforms.
- Online Shopping: The UK is one of the largest e-commerce markets in the world, with online sales expected to reach £200 billion in 2021. Over 87% of UK consumers have made an online purchase in the past 12 months.
- Mobile Internet Usage: Over 82% of internet users in the UK access the internet via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
- Video Streaming: Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ are extremely popular in the UK, with around 60% of the population using them regularly.
- Online Banking: An estimated 93% of Brits were using online banking in 2022. (Finder.com)
- Online Gaming: Online gaming is a popular activity in the UK, with around 31.8 million people playing games online regularly.
8. Video Streaming
- In 2020, the number of UK households with a subscription to at least one video streaming service increased to 58%, up from 49% in 2018. (Ofcom)
- Netflix is the most popular video streaming service in the UK, with a market share of 45% in the first quarter of 2021, followed by Amazon Prime Video with a 27% market share.
- In terms of devices used for streaming video content, smart TVs are the most popular, used by 59% of adults in the UK, followed by laptops (48%), smartphones (46%), and tablets (37%).
- revenue from video streaming services in the UK is expected to reach £6.5 billion by 2026, up from £3.5 billion in 2020. (Digital TV Research)
9. Online Gaming
- In 2020, online gaming revenue in the UK was £2.2 billion. (Tiga.org)
- The majority of online gamers in the UK are between 16-24 years old, representing 46% of the online gaming population.
- The most popular online games in the UK are Fortnite, FIFA, and Minecraft.
- Mobile gaming is also very popular in the UK, with around 55% of the population playing mobile games in 2020.
- As of 2021, the UK had approximately 3.5 million premises connected to Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) networks, which represents about 12% of all premises in the country.
- The availability of FTTP broadband across the UK increased from 18% to 27% between 2020 and 2021. (Ofcom)
- 70% of UK premises had access to superfast broadband with download speeds of at least 30 Mbps.
11. Online Shopping
- In 2020, online sales in the UK reached a record high of £99 billion ($137 billion USD).
- In 2020 online sales comprised 26.2% of all retail sales
- In the first quarter of 2021, online sales in the UK accounted for 36.2% of all retail sales.
- Clothing and footwear were the most popular online purchases in the UK in 2020, followed by household goods, electrical items, and toys.
- In 2020, 73% of UK adults made an online purchase, compared to 53% in 2018.
- Mobile commerce is becoming increasingly popular, with 56% of all online sales made on a mobile device in 2020.
- In 2020, the most popular online retailers in the UK were Amazon, eBay, and Argos.
These home internet statistics for the UK reveal a remarkable shift in the way people access the internet.
With an ever-increasing number of households using the internet for a wide range of purposes, from entertainment to education, and remote working to online shopping, it is clear that the internet has become an essential part of everyday life.
The rise of mobile devices and smart home technology has only fueled this trend, making it easier than ever for people to stay connected and engaged with the online world.
While there are still some challenges to be addressed, such as the digital divide and concerns around online safety and security, the future of home internet usage in the UK looks bright, with continued growth and innovation on the horizon.