Dear Mr Vaizey
I was watching you give evidence to the BIS Select Committee yesterday on the digital economy and I heard you say: “When people say that 20% of people are digitally excluded it doesn’t ring true, it doesn’t capture the nuances and frankly some people just don’t want to be online”.
I thought you might like to have a neat summary of what the numbers say. You’re right to say the picture is nuanced – and it really depends if someone is looking at whether someone has ‘ever’ used the internet or alternatively if they actually have the basic digital skills to use the web to help them with their work, life, and play.
|12.6 million adults in GB lack basic digital skills (that’s 23% of all GB adults). The five basic digital skills are: managing information; communicating; transacting; creating; problem solving.||Go ON UK/Ipsos MORI, Basic Digital Skills UK Report 2015|
|11.1 million people in the UK have low digital capability. This is an indicator of actual digital behaviours such as: very little evidence of online shopping; no managing money online; no streaming or content.||Lloyds Banking Group, Consumer Digital Index, 2016|
|11% of adults (5.9 million) have never used the internet.||ONS, Statistical Bulletin: Internet Users, 2015|
|14% of adults are not recent internet users.||ONS, Statistical Bulletin: Internet Users, 2015|
|14% of adults in the UK are non-users of the internet.||Ofcom, Adult’s Media Use and Attitudes, 2015|
|86% of households in Great Britain (22.5 million) have internet connected at home.||Ofcom, Adult’s Media Use and Attitudes, 2015|
|51% of adults use a smartphone to go online outside of the home.||Ofcom, Adult’s Media Use and Attitudes, 2015|
|67% of adults go online at home and elsewhere; and 17% of internet users (over 15 years) only go online at home.||Ofcom, Adult’s Media Use and Attitudes, 2015|
|Smartphones and tablets supplement rather than substitute computer use, with just 6% only using smartphone and tablet devices to go online at home or elsewhere. This rises to 10% among DEs.||Ofcom, Adult’s Media Use and Attitudes, 2015|
|The busiest 7-day period saw 14.4m unique visitors to pages at Gov.UK – this represents approximately 22% of the UK population.||Activity on GOV.UK: web traffic|
|51% individuals interacted online with public authorities within the last 12 months.||The European Broadband Scorecard Q1, 2015 via Ofcom|
|98% of under 45 year olds have at least one basic digital skill and 89% have all five basic digital skills.||Go ON UK, Basic Digital Skills UK Report 2015|
|98% of under 45 year olds go online anywhere.||Ofcom, Adult’s Media Use and Attitudes, 2015|
|23% of under 45 year olds carry out 10 or less types of activities online.||Ofcom, Adult’s Media Use and Attitudes, 2015|
|80% of internet users in social group DE carry out 10 or less activities online.||Ofcom, Adult’s Media Use and Attitudes, 2015|
You also said that there are people who just don’t want to use the internet and don’t have a compelling reason to use it. According to ONS (2015) 53% of people who don’t have the internet at home (or via mobile) say they don’t have a connection because they ‘did not need it’. In comparison, other barriers are less with 32% indicating that no connection was due to a lack of skills; and high equipment costs and access costs are also a barrier to 12% and 11% of households respectively.
Working to communicate the benefits of the internet to those who don’t see them currently, will continue to be really important.
Hope you find these numbers useful in further understanding the broad digital engagement landscape.