Tablets are now present in half of homes in the UK. As a result online activity continues to spread across devices – as more people are able to pick the optimum device for the task they want to perform.

However, whilst consumers are acquiring more connected products than ever before, there is still a large amount of scepticism when it comes to wearable technology devices. Only 14% of consumers show an interest in smartwatches, while just 11% are interested in head-mounted displays (eg Google Glass). Marketing the smartwatch as a device to monitor and control other devices and appliances within a network of connected things could change perceptions about its usefulness.

This report examines the trends in consumer technology and digital media in the UK, looking at changes in device ownership over the past three months and consumers’ purchasing intentions. Next the report looks at changes in online activity and analyses what industry developments are driving these changes.

We also investigate which forms of digital advertising consumers are most likely to notice, click on and buy from and look at consumers’ attitudes towards digital advertising.

This edition of Digital Trends features a ‘trending topic’ that focuses on the internet of things – as we assess consumer interest in new connected devices and services. The report concludes with a look at one of these products – as we analyse people’s attitudes towards smartwatches.


The term ‘laptop’ in this report refers to a computer intended for mobile use, which has the display, primary input device and speakers integrated into one unit.

  • The definition encompasses notebooks, netbooks, MacBooks, Chromebooks and Ultrabooks.

  • The category includes laptops that can be converted into a tablet form factor such as those with swivel displays or sliding keyboards, or those with a detachable keyboard which provides greater functionality, such as improved battery life or additional connection ports (defined as ‘hybrid laptops’ or ‘convertible laptops’).

  • The category excludes tablets that can be docked with a standalone keyboard to convert to laptop form factor (eg Microsoft Surface), defined as ‘hybrid tablets’.

The term ‘desktop’ in this report refers to a computer that is intended for regular use at a single location. It encompasses towers, all-in-ones and small form factors such as mini and nettop PCs.

The term ‘tablet’ in this report refers to a slate form factor computer designed for mobile use, with an integrated touchscreen as the primary display and mode of input.

Smart TV refers to internet-enabled television sets, which generally give access to apps (eg BBC iPlayer, LOVEFiLM, Skype) and a web browser when the television is connected directly to the internet.

The topic of digital advertising covers several forms of online and mobile advertising or promotion, such as banner, email and search engine advertising. For the purposes of this report, banner, display and pop-up ads have been jointly categorised as ‘online adverts’. Video adverts refer to all types of online video advertising, such as pre-roll ads on YouTube, or commercials shown on catch-up TV platforms (eg 4oD).

The phrase ‘ad clickers’ is used to describe the group of people who have clicked on any digital advert within the past three months, whilst the phrase ‘ad buyers’ is used to describe the group who have bought something directly after clicking on any digital advert included in Mintel’s survey.

This edition’s trending topic focuses on the ‘internet of things’ (IoT). This phrase is commonly used to describe the way in which connected devices can interact with one another over a network, usually in order to transfer data or commands.

Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland.


3D Three-Dimensional
BBC British Broadcasting Corporation
BPI British Phonographic Industry
BT British Telecom
BVA British Video Association
DVD Digital Versatile Disc
FIFA Fédération Internationale de Football Association
FMCG Fast-moving Consumer Goods
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