The Communications Market 2012: Wales

Welsh consumers at forefront of the gadget revolution

Wales is a nation of fast adopters when it comes to new gadgets such as smartphones and e-readers.

More than two-fifths (39%) of Welsh adults are now smartphone users, up from only a quarter (25%) in 2011.

Younger age groups (16-24s and 25-34s) and more affluent households are most likely to own the devices.

At the same time, there has been a 56% jump in the number of people accessing the internet using their mobiles

Wales also has the highest adoption of e-readers in the UK.

More than one in eight (13%) adults in Wales had an e-reader in the first quarter of 2012, compared with the UK average of 10%.

During the course of 2011, broadband take-up in Wales remained stable at 68%, but differences by area and demographic still exist.

Take-up is lower among older households and homes in less affluent areas.

For example, around 63% of adults in the South Wales Valleys have fixed home broadband, compared to 78% of adults in Cardiff.

Two in three (66%) adults in Wales say they would spend less on a communications service if they were forced to make cuts in spending, compared to around half of UK adults (52%).

When forced to choose which communications service they would cut back on, people in Wales are more likely to select pay-TV services (28%) compared to UK adults overall (16%).

Elinor Williams, Ofcoms Director for Wales, said: It is encouraging to see that last years rise in broadband take-up in Wales has been sustained and that Welsh consumers are continuing to take advantage of the communications services which are available to them.

'This year's report shows that more and more consumers are using social networking and accessing the internet on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers, a trend which appears set to continue with the future introduction of 4G services.

'As the UK enters a new generation of mobile communications, Ofcoms objective is to promote effective competition and to stimulate both investment and innovation - helping to serve many areas of the UK that have traditionally been underserved.'

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  Annex A: Adults' media literacy in the nations

Seventy one per cent of adults say TV is their main source of local news, higher than the UK average (53%) and the highest of all the nations.

Spend by the BBC and ITV1 on first-run originated TV programming for viewers in Wales was up 3% on 2010, the only year-on-year increase among the four nations. However, the five-year trend shows a decline of 24%.

S4C had a year-on-year reduction in spend but an increase in the number of first-run originated hours.

Fifty three per cent of homes have satellite TV for their main TV set, higher than in England and Scotland and above the UK average (41%)

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Adults in Wales listened to the most radio per week in 2011.

Average weekly radio listening among adults stood at 23.2 hours, the highest across all of the UK nations.

But theyre less likely to listen to commercial radio.

Local and national commercial stations accounted for 38% of listening share, the lowest of all the UK nations and five percentage points lower than the UK average.

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Overall broadband take-up (fixed and mobile) in Wales has remained stable at 68%, but there remain significant differences by area and demographic group.

Around six in ten (63%) adults in the South Wales Valleys have fixed broadband, which is lower than in Cardiff (78%), Newport (68%) and the Great Britain (GB) average (76%) .

Eight per cent of households in Wales own a tablet computer and take-up is higher in urban (9%) than in rural areas (4%)

Wales has the highest adoption of e-readers in the UK. Just over one in ten (13%) adults in Wales had an e-reader in the first quarter on 2012, greater than the UK average of 10%.

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Lady on the phone

In March 2012 Wales had the lowest household availability of superfast broadband services (34%) across the UK nations.

This was because household cable broadband availability (23%) was the lowest among the UK nations and fibre-to-the-cabinet availability (17%) was the second lowest after Scotland.

In the first three months of 2012, 39% of adults in Wales said that they accessed the internet using a mobile handset - 14 percentage points higher than a year previously and in line with the UK average.

Smartphone take-up increased by 13 percentage points to 39% of mobile users over the same period

In the first three months of 2012, 20% of homes in Wales were mobile-only, five percentage points higher than the UK average of 15%.

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Sixty nine per cent of Welsh consumers claim to send items of post regularly - significantly higher than the UK average of 58%.

Adults in Wales receive fewer parcels than the UK average (0.7 parcels per month compared to 1.2 parcels per month)

Almost half of consumers in Wales say they use First Class all the time

A quarter (27%) of adults in Wales agree that they prefer to send emails rather than letters whenever possible, lower than the UK average (38%)

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