UKOM Data Report: December 2012

31 Jan 2013  |  Niall Johnson 
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As 2012 came to a close, the UK's total online audience saw its numbers dwindle slightly, down 244,000 users month on month.

The advent of Christmas and the busy shopping period saw the usual and familiar retail brands grow in size, while the overall population fell.

UKOM Dec 2012 Active Universe

In total, 43.2 million people in the UK went online in December, with 41.7 million of those accessing the internet exclusively from work or home locations. Users aged 50 plus made up the biggest group with 11.4 million while Grade B users made up the biggest social group, representing 30% of all those online. Further breakdowns can be found using the Universe Profile report here.

UKOM Dec 2012 Main Grocery Shopper

The highly sought-after target of most advertising campaigns, the main grocery shopper, made up just under half of the UK's digital population over the month. Main grocery shoppers that live by themselves accounted for 17% of those online, while MGSs from a household of two plus (couples and larger families) represented 32%.

The rest of the users (children, husbands, tight housemates etc.) made up 46% of the country's online landscape.

Top Research Sites

In the early days of the internet, when uptake among the general public was in its infancy, we were all promised of the untold amount of information that would be available at our fingertips. While users do sometimes dabble in a bit of fact finding the most popular research site only reaches 39% of the UK's online audience.

Wikipedia, the highly criticised but wildly popular source of dubious information, remained the most popular research site with 16.9 million users visiting over the month. The communal online encyclopaedia jumped up by 3.8%, translating to an increase of 678,000 actual users.

The practical guide for life and everything that comes with it, eHow, reported the biggest actual loss in the top ten. The instructional site, which features user videos and essays, covers everything imaginable from raising chickens to drilling around are electrical wires in walls, dropped by 790,000 users month on month. This 16.5% fall in activity saw the 'how to' website fall one place in the top ten., keeping squares in the know since 1999, jumped up one place month on month. The site, which gives explanations on over 6 million slang words and phrases, captured 92,000 more users than in November, resulting in a total audience of 1.3 million users for December.

The slightly satirical site, which is edited and defined by its readers, jumped up 52 places overall, yet still only managed to maintain two sessions and three pages viewed per person., a website which manages to do exactly what it says on the tin, was visited by 1.1 million people over the month, up from 919,000 users in November. The site, which essentially mirrors the purpose of the world clock, jumped up a massive 131 places overall and entered the top ten Resource sites in ninth position.

The practical service saw visitors average two sessions each and also boasted the highest percentage (+25%) and actual rise (+227,000) of the top ten.

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UKOM Dec 2012 Top Research

Top Weather Sites

Despite the fact that the weather has only recently turned nasty, throwing the country into unmitigated chaos, the possibility of travel disruptions had many members of the online population keeping an eye on the climate.

All but one of the top ten weather sites gained more users month on month but fell by 4.5%. Presumably because no one was going on holiday.

BBC Weather remained the first port of call for many with 5.9 million visitors over the month, an increase of over 1 million users. On average, each user spent eight and a half minutes on the site over 6 separate sessions and was used by 14% of all those online.

Behind the BBC, only Met Office and Weather Channel Network had enough pull to bring in over a million users, with 1.9 and 1.4 million visitors respectively.

Weather Underground reported the biggest percentage change period on period but the rise of 105% only translates to an extra 156,000 for the month. This was enough to push the site up two places.

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UKOM Dec 2012 Top Weather

Top Merchandiser Sites

Christmas - many of us do our best to ignore it, but ultimately there is no avoiding it. Unsurprisingly, all of the top ten online mass merchandisers saw an increase in traffic running up to the big day, with retail giant Amazon netting the biggest share and month on month increase.

Amazon defended its dominant position by gaining an extra 1.7 million users in December, an increase of 7%. In total, 24.5 million people (a 27% share) accessed the multinational merchandiser but the average amount of time each panicked shopper spent on the site was down from 43 to 40 minutes month on month.

The original revolutionary offline shopping experience, Argos, had the biggest increase of the top ten sites. A 16.7% rise in users (+1.6 million) helped the treasure cave of miscellaneous goods move up to second place, pushing supermarket giant Tesco into third. The grocery site didn't reap the benefits from the shopping frenzy, with a rise in users of only 0.3% for December.

The New Year saw fall victim to the laws of Low Value Consignment Relief, with trading due to wrap up in March 2013, and despite growing by 13% in December the site fell down one place. Currys also dropped down one place even though its users jumped by 11%.

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UKOM Dec 2012 Top Merchandisers

Top Video Sites

There was a surprising fall in interest for video on demand sites over the month, with 50% of the top ten shedding viewers compared to November. Blinkbox, which offer content from broadcasters and Hollywood studios, fell out of the top ten allowing Sky Go to enter the fray.

The catch up service from BSkyB was the 10th most popular video site throughout the month and the 519th most popular website overall. Although the audience remained relatively unchanged from November, the time spent per person jumped up from 14 minutes to 17 on average.

YouTube remained at the top although it did suffer along with one of its channels. The main YouTube site and Machinima on YouTube lost 359,000 and 228,000 users respectively. Each of the 24 million visitors to the site spent an impressive two hours and 17 minutes watching videos of cats et al., with the video sharing service falling one place to sixth overall.

BBC's iPlayer secured a 5% rise over the month but rival service ITV Player dropped two places in the top ten as a result of losing 8% of users. Channel 4's 4oD barely managed to add to its audience in December (+1.6%) but moved up one place to become the fourth most popular video site.

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UKOM Dec 2012 Top Video
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