How was 2010? Nominet, the internet registry for .uk domain names, constantly update statistics on the online landscape, and provide a study of the year in their Domain name industry report. In addition, Google commissioned the global consulting group, BCG, to help understand the UK market resulting in The Connected Kingdom: How the Internet Is Transforming the UK. Below are some highlights we found.
Trust and preferences in .uk
When users were asked if they would choose to visit a .uk site over a .com site when presented with a search result, 80% said that they would click on the .uk website. This same question has been asked over the past four years, and the trend shows that consumers are increasingly reliant on .uk to provide a trusted environment, presenting relevant and local information. This is particularly significant for businesses wanting to attract consumers and shows that a .uk domain name is an important part of their strategy when dealing with UK consumers.
Nominet also asked web visitors about preferences for .uk sites when browsing or buying products online. Again a marked preference for .uk over .com is shown in both cases. For e-commerce though 77% prefer a .uk site which is a step increase from a year ago.
With this preference comes high expectations. Consumers especially anticipate a .uk site will show prices in £’s. On the other hand, lower delivery charges from a .uk versus a .com are not expected by the majority.
A nation of e-shopkeepers?
Napoleon’s slur looks like a prediction when considering the digital economy. BCG’s investigations showed the UK has embraced the internet and is now, per capita, the largest e-commerce market and the second largest online-advertising market globally. This is borne out in the Nominet data with over 2 million new registrations of .uk domain names in 2010.
In particular, BCG found that it is small and medium enterprise (SMEs) that are empowered by the internet. Data from the ONS showed that annual growth of online sales between 2004 and 2008 was 43% for SMEs versus 31% for businesses with 1,000+ employees. This is not limited to ‘cloud’ computing start ups either. Case studies include Wiggly Wigglers, selling worms online and UK tights, selling – you’ve guessed it – tights alongside the likes of mydeco where you can design your rooms online in 3-D.
Internet to reach 10% of UK GDP by 2015
Looking to the future, the BCG report forecats that the the Internet economy is likely to grow to 10% of UK GDP by 2015. This is significantly faster growth than other sectors of the economy and does depend on several determining factors. Consumption is seen as the biggest driver of this growth which depends on greater penetration of broadband (in line with predictions of the Economist Intelligence Unit) and that goods and travel purchased online account for 30% of online consumer’s overall purchases (compared with 23% today).
In their final conclusion, BCG consider the UK to be well positioned in the Internet economy and offer some encouraging words for business, government and entrepreneurs to grasp the nettle. All in all, we think this report and the figures from Nominet are defintiely a spot of good news for all of us as we head into 2011.
- Nominet: Domain name industry report 2010 and statistics
- The Boston Consulting Group: The Connected Kingdom: How the Internet Is Transforming the UK