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UK tablet usage triples to 30% year on year, says Google study

Tablet usage in the UK has tripled year-on-year, taking the total to 30 per cent of the population, while smartphone usage has doubled to 62 per cent, according to a Google study.

The global report, aimed at better understanding people’s increasingly multiscreen behaviours, revealed that most people in the 35 countries monitored use more than one connected device.

The UK scored as one of the most connected countries, along with Norway and The Netherlands, with people using an average of three devices. The US fell just short of this with an average person using 2.9 devices, while the average in China is 1.4.

Meanwhile almost three quarters of UK smartphone users go online via their mobiles every day, while 80 per cent never leave their home without it. Just over half of smartphone owners search the web via their mobiles on a daily basis, according to the study.

The majority (85 per cent) of people use their smartphones while on the move, 71 per cent while at work and 72 per cent when they are in a shop.

The report also highlighted that two thirds of smartphone users expect websites to cater for the device, providing as good a user experience as on their desktop.

People are also becoming more comfortable purchasing directly from mobile devices, with 61 per cent of smartphone owners using their phone for researching or purchasing, according to the study.

Just over half of people research products on their phone at home while a quarter of people research items while on the go. Another 20 per cent of them do so while on some form of public transport and 18 per cent of them while in-store.

People are increasingly using a mix of devices when researching behaviour prior to purchase, particularly for areas including travel and technology. The majority (93 per cent) of smartphone owners us their mobile, desktop or tablet to research travel products, while 70 per cent use all three devices to research technology products.

The most common topics people look for are similar, regardless of the device, focusing on price, quality information, reviews, ratings, and location.

The research also highlighted that people are still leaning towards purchasing on tablets, desktops or offline, rather than smartphones which they prefer to use as a research tool.

Only 12 per cent of people completed a purchase on a smartphone after researching a travel product, compared to 88 per cent who go on to buy on their desktop, tablet or offline.

The news follows Google’s overhaul of AdWords to cater for multi-device search – its biggest ever change in the history of paid search.

By 22 July all advertisers must have switched their paid-search campaigns over to Enhanced Campaigns or they will be automatically migrated. The move means that all advertisers with a paid-search campaign will have them split across all mobile devices by default.

Media agencies and brands have met the changes with mixed reaction, with some believing that the inevitable increase in mobile search competition which result from the changes is already causing mobile cost-per-clicks to rocket.

However others have seen positive results, including dating site Mysinglefriend, which has reported a 100 per cent spike in conversions across all devices since migrating over to Enhanced Campaigns.

Readers can view Google's blog post on the full multiscreen report here.

The Drum will provide the link to the full report once it has been uploaded by Google at the end of the week.

Jessica Davies

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