The communications market plays a crucial role in the lives of citizens and consumers, and the fast-paced nature of the market means that this role is ever-changing. Media and communications are a key part of our daily lives and we spend more time using them than we do sleeping.

Sifting through the OFCOM Communications Market Report: Scotland 2016 reveals some interesting facts on media and communications. For example, although just over a third (35%) of internet users in Scotland say that they can work more flexibly because of the internet,15% feel as though they’re always at work, as a result of this constant connectivity. About one in six (17%) feel guilty about the amount of time they spend online. Almost two in five (37%) of all internet users in Scotland admit to spending longer than they intend to in browsing social media, and more than half (53%) spend longer than they intend to just generally browsing the web – great for social media marketers!

When people in Scotland do spend more time than intended online, housework and sleeping are the activities that are neglected, with 44% of regular internet users leaving the housework and 42% losing sleep. People in Scotland felt some of the negative effects of being online to a lesser extent than those in the UK as a whole; they were less likely to have been late for meetings with friends or family, neglected their job or been late for work, as shown in the figure below.

Negative effects of too much time online


Watching content such as TV programmes, films or short video clips, accounts for 40% of the total time spent on media and communications by adults in Scotland. This consists mainly of live TV, which makes up 28% of the total media and communications time. The proportions of this time spent on the five broad activity types (watching, listening, communication, playing and reading/ browsing/ using) is consistent across the nations, and there have been no significant changes since 2014.

Proportion of time attributed to activity types, by nation



Source: Ofcom Digital Day 2016
Base: Adults aged 16+ in UK (1512), England (991), Scotland (190), Wales (176), N Ireland (155)

Instant messaging increasing in Scotland

In Scotland, use of instant messaging has increased since 2014. More than nine in ten adults (94%) watched any live TV over the week, while the next most popular activity was taking part in phone calls (76%). Instant messaging was the only activity that showed a significant increase since 2014, up by 18pp to 46%.

People feel ignored

People in Scotland are spending more time using media and communications than do housework or sleeping. But using connected devices, like smartphones or tablets, can get in the way of face-to-face interactions. Almost three-quarters (72%) of people have felt ignored because the person they were with was using a device. And there’s a risk of collisions too – nearly seven in ten (67%) people in Scotland have had someone bump into them because the other person was engrossed in their phone. People don’t want to put their devices down, and some are spending more time online than they planned – when they do, it is sleeping and housework that are neglected. Six out of ten people see themselves as ‘hooked’ on their connected device. A minority (11%) say that they feel nervous or anxious when they are offline, and one in five (20%) feel nervous without their mobile. As a result, some people in Scotland have given themselves a ‘digital detox’; a quarter (25%) had abstained completely from the internet for some time because they thought they’d been using it too much.

As marketers, we say, let’s get back online!


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