Format: Apr 2019
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UK internet device and consumption forecasts: Smartphones rule

The UK is now a smartphone society: by the end of this year smartphone users will exceed the PC internet audience and by 2020 we project penetration will reach 83%. The average smartphone user now spends an hour and three quarters a day online, significantly more than the equivalent for PC and tablet, and phones already account for nearly half of all time online

We are positive on tablet user numbers, and think PCs will be resilient, especially for work users. All in all we expect connected time in 2020 to be 21 billion hours higher than in 2015, up over 35%

Commercial revenues via smartphones and tablets still lag their share of internet usage, but the monetisation gap versus the PC is closing fast: the newer devices accounted for 27% of internet search and display advertising last year, up 8ppts versus 2013, and 36% of e-commerce transactions, up from a quarter a year earlier. Consumers are already thinking mobile-first; businesses will have to follow

Internet, Media, Mobile, Technology, Telecoms 27 August 2015
UK internet travel market

This presentation details our assessment of the UK travel market to 2015, covering the package holiday, flight, accommodation and cruise sectors. UK consumer spending on holidays has been hit hard by the recession, but should bounce back as household finances recover, though the macro risk is still on the downside. We project that the internet will account for 60% of bookings by 2015, up from 45% in 2010, with growth fuelled by increased bargain hunting, as well as improving choice and functionality. Suppliers will continue to generate the lion’s share of internet sales, but online travel agents will take share, particularly for accommodation, which remains highly fragmented. New devices such as tablets and smartphones will increasingly be used to book and manage consumer travel, though the potential for incremental sales seems limited.

Internet, Media 14 September 2011
UK Internet Trends

15 million UK adults regularly (at least once a month) accessed the Internet from home in Q3 2001, the same as in Q2 2001. This stagnation is due to mainly seasonal factors and we expect growth of the home Internet population to be renewed in the autumn and winter.

Our lower forecasts are derived from an analysis of the numbers of households and small businesses that are apparently prepared to buy ADSL at current price levels, but also driven by concerns about this particular product. Users will have to acquire new email addresses and pay for a new email service. We do not think the product will work in networked multi-PC homes or offer ISDN users a real alternative. We see tremendous confusion in the marketplace from two competing BT Broadband offerings from BT Retail and BTopenworld.

Media 21 December 2001
UK Internet Trends

This note provides an update on UK Internet trends covering the post-Christmas period. It covers usage, shopping and other online activities of the 17.7 million connected adults. The note highlights the feminisation of the UK online population and its impact on shopping behaviour.

Broadband cable suffers from several technical performance problems, including installation, actual performance and the costs of providing content, in particular to gamers.

In Germany, less than 5% of cable homes have been upgraded to digital, suggesting that Deutsche Telekom’s DSL push has irresistible momentum.

Media 23 October 2001
UK Internet Trends

Driven by growing broadband connectivity, the internet continues to gain share of media consumption and advertising at the expense of traditional media, hit by the double whammy of substitution to online and deepening recession

In the near-term, the recession will be the dominant factor across many business sectors. The enclosed presentation highlights key online trends in the UK and our current forecasts for internet advertising in 2009 and 2010

Media, Internet, Telecoms, Fixed Line 30 June 2009
UK Internet Trends - Q4 2001

The UK Internet population continued to grow very slowly in the fall of 2001, reaching 14.7 million home users (30% adult penetration rate). Although this slow pace of customer growth may give investors pause for concern, we found some good news on e-tailing to report, such as higher numbers of purchasers - to almost 9 million - and positive experiences online that will lead to repeat shopping. Books, clothes, DVDs and computer games were especially popular items. Bricks-and-clicks e-tailers like WHSmith, Argos and John Lewis are well positioned to take advantage of offline/online marketing synergies, but Amazon (around 3 million unique visitors) is impressive in execution. Tesco has retained its very wide lead over other online supermarkets, almost doubling reach to 9% of home Internet users in 2001, and Argos is also doing well.

This note looks in detail at the reseller business model, and in particular for BT service providers taking over BT lines, where Oftel has just mandated a ‘wholesale line rental’ product. We think the small international call segment is unappealing for entry as competition is already fierce. The new entrant will also find it difficult to establish a foothold on the local and national calls segments where substitution of mobile telephony is draining any dynamism from the market. Even more ominous is the advantage the BT Together packages have given BT over resellers in the customer segment most likely to be aggressively marketed by stretchy brands: families making off-peak and weekend calls to family and friends.

Media 27 February 2002
UK Internet Trends Q3 2002

This note shows the mixed evidence on household penetration. Most surveys report a distinct plateau in subscribing household numbers in the UK, particularly compared to France and Germany, where numbers are still growing. Other surveys show a continuing rise in individual users. On balance, we think the data does point to a clear deceleration in the growth in subscribing households. Current penetration is just over 10m homes, or 40% of the UK total.

Media 4 November 2002
UK internet: mobile inflection point

Strong growth in UK sales of mobile devices in 2013, with tablet shipments overtaking declining PC sales, pushed smartphone and tablet penetration up to about 63% and 35% respectively, in line with our forecasts.

We estimate that mobile devices now account for 50% of time spent online in the UK, the lion’s share via apps, reaching this milestone sooner than expected. Mobile internet usage looks set for further growth in 2014 and beyond, with PC-based consumption flattening.

After a slow start mobile monetisation is also rising fast, with UK advertising and e-commerce to mobile devices accelerating and closing the gap with that on the PC. We expect much, if not all, future growth in commercial internet revenues to be driven by mobile devices.

Mobile, Telecoms, Internet, Media 14 March 2014

The UK online market is among the most mature in Europe: while strong growth continued during 2000 (60% increase in home users), this was less dramatic than in Germany and France.

Fixed Line 5 April 2001
UK local media: a holy grail?

This report explores and quantifies expenditure in the local media landscape. Flat disposable income and the rise in e-commerce continue to force many retailers from the high street, though we argue first-rate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have the opportunity to grow share of the local market, despite these pressures

Technology has radically disrupted the way local businesses reach out to consumers. Not only has advertising expenditure moved online, but SME spend is dissipating into other activities, including distribution and platform developments, PR, social and sponsorship activities and live events

The rise of smartphones has created the tantalising prospect of a perfect local media solution. We assess the level of opportunity for Google, Facebook, Hibu, local newspapers, local radio, local TV and hyperlocal organisations

  • Yell
  • Google
  • Facebook
  • DMGT
Internet, Media 3 December 2012
UK mobile advertising begins to take off

UK mobile advertising jumped 157% year-on-year to £203 million in 2011, marginally higher than our forecast of £180 million, with strong growth in both search and display

Mobile advertising now accounts for 6% of internet search and display spend, but still lags mobile devices’ share of internet consumption, which has been rising strongly due to rapid smartphone and tablet adoption, and we estimate is now at around 15%

We expect much of the lag between mobile’s share of internet consumption and ad spend to disappear over the next five years, indicating continued high growth

  • Google
  • Apple
Mobile, Telecoms, Internet, Media 23 March 2012
UK Mobile Call Charge Trends

The profitability of the UK 2G mobile networks depends on the continued avoidance of a price war. Are there any signs yet of retail price erosion? This report suggests that mobile prices have in fact risen in the last two years, despite the entry of ‘3’, the growth of Virgin Mobile and the regulatory pressure on termination charges.




Telecoms, Mobile 20 September 2004
UK Mobile Consumer Trends

In the attached report we are publishing the 2006 edition of our regular review of UK mobile user trends, based on a survey of 1,000 adults. We look at handset ownership, replacement trends, handset manufacturer choice, network operator choice, camera phone ownership and usage, 3G handset ownership and usage and, finally, interest in Mobile TV.

We cannot see how Phones4U can fulfil the volume requirements without significant damage to its business and competitiveness, and Vodafone may also suffer from a vengeful CPW encouraging its subscribers to churn away. Vodafone appears to not understand that it is its competitors that are driving up subsidies rather than its business partners, and is instead trying to shoot the messenger

CPW has less to lose from the weakest two operators leaving than one might think, and the continued lack of differentiation from the operators means that its core business model is still very much secure

Telecoms 27 July 2006
UK Mobile Consumer Trends

The UK mobile market can give the unwary observer the impression of strong subscriber growth, dangerously high levels of competition for the incumbents, and high levels of consumer enthusiasm for both advanced handsets and advanced mobile data services. These impressions are however all incorrect or misleading, as our recent UK mobile user survey helps to show.

Media 12 May 2005
UK mobile market Q1 2013: 4G progresses but does not transform

Overall UK mobile revenue growth slipped slightly in Q1, dropping 0.4ppts to -4.3%, although, taking into account the leap year effect, underlying growth likely improved a touch, marking the second quarter of growth being at least stable

EE announced 4G subscriber figures for the first time, reporting 318k subscribers at the end of the quarter, a very respectable figure given coverage, handset and price tier limitations. We expect this figure to grow strongly as coverage rolls out and 4G handset availability spreads, but the 4G revenue premium is still unlikely to be significant in 2013

The outlook for revenue growth in the rest of 2013 is fairly positive – the MTR impact will partly drop out from Q2 onwards, boosting reported revenue by over 2ppts, some mid-contract price increases will take effect, and pricing (so far) has remained reasonably stable

  • Vodafone
  • T-Mobile
  • Orange
  • O2
  • Hutchison 3G
  • EE
Mobile, Telecoms 2 June 2013
UK mobile market Q1 2014: Heading for positivity

UK mobile service revenue growth remained relatively healthy at -1.6% in Q1 2014, despite the absence of some favourable one-off factors in the previous quarter, consolidating the improvements seen in 2013. Underlying growth improved a touch to 0.3%, and given that the regulatory impact will drop out next quarter, reported revenue growth may well turn positive in Q2

Service revenue growth among the ‘big three’ has re-converged to around -3% to -4%, with Vodafone improving due to strong recent subscriber gains, and EE worsening slightly after a strong previous quarter. H3G’s growth worsened due to the previous quarter including some one-off benefits, but it remains very strong at 10%, with contract ARPU having stabilised

We expect the market environment to continue to be relatively benign, with the biggest disruptive threats Vodafone, which is currently competing on quality but may become more aggressive on price if it loses patience, and the fixed line operator MVNOs, who have significant distribution disadvantages but nonetheless can harm the market with discounted pricing

  • Vodafone
  • O2
  • Hutchison 3G
  • EE
Mobile, Telecoms 24 June 2014
UK mobile market Q1 2015: A little growth, less convergence

UK mobile service revenue growth continued to improve, rising to 1.2% in Q1, a modest figure but still the best of the five largest European mobile markets, albeit weaker than the UK consumer fixed line market (4%-5%)

O2 continued to be the strongest grower of the ‘big 3’, and maintained over 40% share of contract net adds. Both Vodafone and EE appear to have suffered from the demise of Phones 4U, having been its biggest (and latterly its only) network operator suppliers. EE is also suffering from the gradual withdrawal of its Orange and T-Mobile brands, which is forcing it to work harder to both attract and retain customers

Vodafone launched a competitively priced consumer fixed broadband offer on 10 June. EE has shown that there is an opportunity for Vodafone to have some limited success cross-selling broadband through its shops, but O2's mobile-only success and EE's struggles in its mobile business suggest that this will not drive improved mobile performance

  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • O2
  • Vodafone
Mobile, Telecoms 17 June 2015
UK mobile market Q1 2016: Future uncertain

UK mobile service revenue growth marginally improved in Q1, to 0.5% from 0.3% in the previous quarter, with the market now having been stuck at a modest but positive growth level for two full years. The improvement was driven by contract ARPU growth improvements, across all of the operators, partially mitigated by a drop in contract subscriber volume growth, perhaps influenced by a weak market for new handsets

Looking forward, the competitive outlook is very uncertain; while EE is looking to increase its network lead, whether it wishes to use this to boost share or pricing is unclear, O2’s future owners may have different strategic priorities to the status quo, H3G will likely take innovative approaches, which are tautologically hard to predict, and Vodafone UK remains Vodafone’s only large European market without a scale position in consumer broadband, a situation it is likely to want to rectify in due course

While before the Brexit referendum, we would have concluded that the outlook for market-wide revenue growth was reasonably positive in spite of this, with ever-strong data volume growth contrasting with constrained spectrum supply, the extra economic uncertainty due to the referendum result puts this at least partly in doubt. The mobile market is likely to be relatively insensitive to macroeconomic conditions given its increasingly essential nature, but there is some sensitivity, particularly if population growth slows or reverses. Our base case assumption is a dip in growth of 1-2ppts in 2017 as a consequence of Brexit

  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • O2
  • Vodafone
Telecoms 5 July 2016
UK mobile market Q1 2017: EE leads the way

UK mobile service revenue growth continued to improve, with EE now the clear leader in service revenue growth terms. The rate of improvement has started to slow, but pricing remains solid and data traffic continues to grow healthily

EE’s performance was helped by robust subscriber growth but mainly driven by its very strong ARPU growth, which is in turn driven by ‘more-for-more’ pricing and a service/content tiered pricing model. Others are starting to follow this approach

The short/medium term outlook remains healthy, with the price increases made in Q2 likely to more than compensate for roaming cuts in the latter part of the year.  Looking further forward, the launch of 5G could be disruptive due to the introduction of copious extra spectral capacity, and therefore the results of the upcoming auction will be key for the sector post-2020

  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • O2
  • Vodafone
Mobile, Telecoms 22 June 2017
UK mobile market Q1 2018: Primed for revenue acceleration

Service revenue growth for the UK mobile market improved in the first quarter of the year, lifting from 1.0% to 1.2%. There was an easing of the EU roaming regulatory impact helping growth improve, but the SIM-only drag likely grew to counteract this, suggesting a modest underlying improvement overall

We expect continued market growth improvement in the coming year due to a number of tailwinds, namely annual price rises, the arrival of IFRS 15, and the EU roaming impact dropping out

The fundamentals of the market remain solid: competition is rational; pricing is firm; data demand is strongly rising; supply is partially constrained; MVNOs and convergence do not appear a threat

  • EE
  • Hutchison 3G
  • O2
  • Vodafone
Media, Telecoms 7 June 2018