CYBERSPACE—A new Neilsen report for the UK Online Measurement Group (UKOM) has compared Britons’ online surfing habits from 2007 with online surfing habits from 2010, revealing some major shifts in how people are spending their time.
Visits to adult websites have more or less stayed constant over the three years—falling only slightly from a 2.8 percent of internet time to 2.7 percent—but still take up the rear of the top ten most active categories. News was in tenth three years ago, with adult in ninth, but it has since seen 84 percent growth, going from 1.5 percent of internet time to 2.8 percent today, putting it only fractionally ahead of adult.
The category that saw the most astonishing growth, however, was social networking and blogs, which improved by 159 percent, from 8.8 percent of internet time to 22.7 percent. The category that suffered the most at the hands of time spent social networking and blogging was instant messaging, which fell from 14.2 percent of internet time to 4.9 percent. The only other online activities that beat out IM, however, are using email and playing online games.
According to the UKOM data, it seems clear that the one-to-one IMing experience has been roundly abandoned by Brits in favor of more community-oriented experiences, which will certainly not be news to either Facebook or its millions of new users since 2007. Indeed, Neilsen Online reported in September 2009, “Facebook is the most heavily used web brand, accounting for 13 percent of all UK internet time—or one in every eight minutes.”
The following is a list of the top ten UK sectors as of April 2010, as a share of total UK internet time. The second number is the amount of time the average UK internet surfer spent on those activities during April if all usage were condensed into one hour.
1. Social Networks/Blogs (13 minutes, 36 seconds)
2. Email (4 minutes, 18 seconds)
3. Games (4 minutes, 6 seconds)
4. Instant Messaging (2 minutes, 54 seconds)
5. Classifieds/Auction (2 minutes, 48 seconds)
6. Portals (2 minutes, 24 seconds)
7. Search (2 minutes, 24 seconds)
8. Software Info/products (2 minutes, 0 seconds)
9. News (1 minute, 42 seconds)
10. Adult (1 minute, 36 seconds)