The UK is an advanced digital market, but levels of device ownership appeared about average for Western Europe.
Nearly 83% of UK internet users ages 16 to 64 polled in H1 2019 owned a desktop or laptop, and 56.8% owned a tablet, per GlobalWebIndex. By comparison, those shares in Portugal were 84.7% and 53.0%, respectively, and in Germany, they were 87.9% and 52.2%. Spain registered higher values for both devices, at 87.2% and 59.4%.
UK internet users registered 92.6% smartphone penetration in H1 2019. This figure also fell below comparable values in Portugal (96.1%), Germany (93.6%) and Spain (97.2%).
At first glance, these results suggest that ownership of PCs, tablets and smartphones may be lagging slightly in the UK, despite its highly developed digital infrastructure and behaviors. However, it’s worth remembering that most of these gaps are modest and that the population sampled in the UK may be a more accurate reflection of the entire internet user base than the individuals polled elsewhere (see note below).
In fact, other metrics point to substantial uptake of digital devices. Nearly 28% of respondents owned a TV streaming stick, for example, and 45.1% owned a smart TV, including more than half of those in the most affluent households. Some 14.0% of female internet users, and 9.2% of their male counterparts, owned a smart wristband and nearly 40% of all respondents owned a game console.
Importantly, smart-home products are taking off in the UK. Overall, 16.5% of internet users ages 16 to 64 said they owned a smart-home device, such as a system designed to monitor household energy consumption or enable users to control home appliances remotely. That share was especially high in households at the higher end of the income scale (23.8%).