UK in Top 10 digital markets but lags behind European rivals

UK in Top 10 digital markets but lags behind European rivals
UK in Top 10 digital markets but lags behind European rivals

The UK is among the world's Top 10 leading digital markets according to new comparisons of size, adoption and ad spend, compiled, for the first time, by ZenithOptimedia.

In the Publicis Groupe agency’s New Media Forecasts report published today (11 February), the UK is ranked the 10th leading digital market in 2012, behind Asia’s South Korea (9) but ahead of neighbouring Ireland (11).

Ranked according to a combination of absolute size and percentage of total ad spend taken by internet expenditure, ZenithOptimedia then factors in how consumers in these markets use digital media; how internet advertising, social media and e-commerce are developing; and how quickly new media technologies are being adopted.

Within the markets (see table below), ZenithOptimedia tracked the adoption of three new media technologies – IPTV, smartphones and tablets – and forecast their penetration. Smartphones are the most prevalent device, with an average 36% penetration in 2012, this rises to 73% in Sweden.

Norway had the highest average penetration in 2012, thanks to its high take-up of smartphones (65%, compared to an average 44% in these 19 markets) and tablets (13%, compared to a 9% average).

Sweden and Denmark also feature in the top five, reflecting Scandinavia’s traditional consumer enthusiasm for the internet and digital media. In fact, despite the continued economic troubles in the region, all of the top five markets were in Western Europe.

The highest-ranked market from outside Western Europe was Canada, in sixth place. Australia, in seventh place, was the highest-placed market from Asia Pacific, while Hungary was the highest-placed from Central & Eastern Europe, at 16th. Brazil, at 17th, is the only Latin American market among the top 19.

In all markets penetration is rising rapidly, and ZenithOptimedia expects it to double to average 72% across by 2015. Tablet penetration averaged 5% in 2012, but exceeded 15% in five markets: Australia, France, Ireland, the Netherlands and the US.

By 2015, tablet penetration is forecast to average 13% across the 19 markets, but to range as high as 45% in France and 50% in Ireland. IPTV is the slowest-growing of the three technologies; but the reports tracks average penetration rising by 36% between 2012 and 2015, from 6.6% to 9.0%.

Ireland to be fastest climber, following government investment

Looking ahead, by 2015, ZenithOptimedia expects the Netherlands to top the table, thanks to its extremely rapid adoption of IPTV, which broadband providers are competing to offer as a value-added service to take advantage of the fast-paced build-out of new fibre-optic infrastructure.

During the same period, Ireland is forecast to leapfrog the UK as the fastest climber, moving from 11th place in 2012 to third in 2015.

Ireland is adopting all three technologies very quickly, most notably tablets, fuelled by the Irish government investing in making them available to schools. The move is said to be increasing their availability and indirectly encouraging sales by making parents familiar with their advantages.

Half of Ireland’s entire population is expected to have access to a tablet of some description in 2015.

Elsewhere, Western Europe is tipped to remain at the forefront of the adoption of new media technology, accounting for four of the top five and seven of the top ten markets in 2015.

In contrast, the US, despite its wealth and stronger economic growth, is reported to be buying into these technologies less rapidly, and is expected to slip down the rankings from 12th place in 2012 to 14th in 2015, as high subscription prices slow the uptake of smartphones.

Ranking by adoption of new media technology
Rank 2012 Average penetration (%) 2015 Average penetration (%)
1 Norway 38.8 Netherlands 65.1
2 France 35.7 France 60.8
3 Netherlands 35.1 Ireland 50.2
4 Sweden 31.3 Norway 48.2
5 Denmark 31.2 Canada 47.7
6 Canada 30.5 Denmark 46.8
7 Australia 24.6 Sweden 42.9
8 Spain 24.4 Australia 40.9
9 South Korea 23.1 South Korea 36.5
10 UK 23.1 UK 34.0
11 Ireland 21.0 Spain 33.7
12 USA 19.4 Israel 32.9
13 Israel 18.5 China 32.7
14 China 14.3 USA 30.8
15 Germany 13.2 Japan 29.9
16 Hungary 12.9 Brazil 26.9
17 Brazil 11.2 Germany 22.1
18 Japan 9.8 Hungary 19.7
19 Russia 7.3 Russia 10.9

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