Analysis about the way people are using data and technology has revealed a distinct digital divide. Experian’s new consumer classification of today’s digital landscape, Mosaic Digital, has exposed a nation separated into three – with high, moderate and low users of data-driven, digital devices.
By combining consumer surveys, together with measurement of web traffic and geo-demographic databases, a clearer picture of digitalisation in England, Scotland and Wales has emerged.
“What we’ve found is that the ‘Digital Divide’ is a reality, with the population split into not two, but three levels of engagement with the digital world,” said Richard Jenkings, senior consultant at Experian.
“Delve deeper, and we have identified eleven distinct groups of people, all consuming data-driven technology in different ways, with widely differing access and speed of services at home and on their mobile devices.
“It would be easy to think that today we are all using digital technology for the same things and at the same rate of consumption. However, what we’ve discovered is that clearly isn’t the case.
Internet connection speeds are shown to have an impact, but so do many other behavioural factors, including underlying attitudes towards technology. Some people are riding the digital wave, while others are at being left behind.”
The consumption of data-driven, digital technology has clear implications for people’s life experience. For example, the way they manage their finances, do their shopping or pay their bills, as well as the way they interact with organisations, institutions and other people.
“Businesses and public sector organisations need to think about what this means for them when it comes to communicating with their audiences,” added Jenkings.
“In the digitalised world, the customer journey is profoundly influenced which connected devices people are using, their level of digital engagement and attitudes towards technology in general. Businesses have to know what devices and channels their audience is using and tailor their comms accordingly. A one size fits all approach simply doesn’t work anymore”
Around 7.5 million (15.6 per cent of the population) people are being left behind in the digital revolution, either because of old age and a lack of know-how or interest in new technology, or by the limited or slow provision of broadband in the places where they live. Locations in the far reaches of Scotland feature highly in this group, alongside rural locations and seaside towns such Scarborough, Boston and Lowestoft.
About a third of people in the UK (32.4 per cent) fall into the leading edge users of digital technology. They have the most devices, spend more time on-line and use digital services for the widest range of activities. They are most at home in the digital world and would find it extremely hard to do without digital technology. There is a clear urban bias in evidence here. Locations in this group are dominated by London boroughs, as well as other metropolitan areas across the UK, including Manchester and Birmingham.
About half of the population (52 per cent) are defined as practical day-to-day users of the internet and digital services. Their use is characterised less by enthusiasm for the latest technology and the must have gadget, and more by a set of practical uses that benefit them on a daily basis. This includes search, paying bills, entertainment and being active on social media and other forums. Locations that feature highly in this group include suburban areas and commuter towns, such as Epsom, Orpington and Altrincham.