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Impact of User-Generated Content on Media - UK - November 2010

This report examines the impact of user-generated content (UGC) on media, including not just traditional media such as the press but also how it has influenced the digital space in the form of comments, reviews, blogs, forums, social media and other related content.

  • Consumers are most likely to have been exposed to user-generated content (UGC) in the form of looking up information on Wikipedia or a similar online reference website, with 85% of adult internet users claiming to do so. Other popular forms of exposure to UGC include viewing videos (eg on YouTube) and reading comments on websites, such as under a news story or a product on a retailer’s website.
  • The type of UGC that people are most likely to have contributed is a comment or review on a retailer’s website, with approaching half doing so. Around two in five upload photos to a website, while approximately a third post to forums, comment on a blog or comment on news stories/features.
  • Consumers like the way that UGC offers the facility for a two-way conversation between them and companies and media owners, with 55% agreeing that it is a good way for companies or the media to find out what customers think. Other key aspects of UGC are that it is seen as providing an interesting alternative viewpoint to content created by professional journalists (cited by around half) and that it improves the breadth, range and quality of what consumers read, view and listen to.
  • A note of caution is sounded by the two in five internet users who agree that the sheer amount of UGC is overwhelming, emphasising that website owners need to ensure that the most helpful/useful comments/reviews are always to be found near the top of the list. Added to this, a sizeable minority of around one in five say that they actively avoid reading or viewing it, indicating that operators still have some work to do when it comes to credibility.
  • UGC is clearly influential: almost six out of ten adult internet users say they usually read reviews of products underneath their online listing, rising to around two-thirds among 16-24 year-olds. Additionally, a very attractive group to marketers - high earners with household incomes of over £50,000 a year - are notably more likely to read comments/reviews, with around two-thirds doing so.
  • UGC doesn’t just influence decisions, it also has a tangible effect on buying behaviour: almost half had bought something as a result of reading a review on a retailers’ website, while only slightly fewer had decided not to buy something as a result. Video reviews, while less prevalent, have also influenced around a fifth of consumers, while around 15% of adults have been influenced by a blog or Twitter feed recommendation. Again, the influence on buying behaviour is strongest among younger 16-34 year-olds and high earners.

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Main issues
        • Definition
          • Abbreviations
          • Future Opportunities

            • Engaging older internet users
              • In Wikipedia we don’t trust...
              • Market in Brief

                • UGC does influence buying behaviour
                  • Comments most popular form of UGC
                    • Consumption significantly higher than contribution levels
                      • Two-way interaction main benefit of UGC
                        • Pros v amateurs
                          • The UGC generation
                          • Internal Market Environment

                            • Key points
                              • More than two thirds have broadband
                                • Figure 1: Broadband penetration, by demographics, 2004-10
                              • Smartphone penetration on the rise
                                • Email and searches most popular online activities
                                  • Figure 2: Types of activity undertaken on the internet in the last three months, April 2009-July 2010
                                • News, photos, and video main UGC-related mobile usage occasions
                                  • Figure 3: Sites visited in the last three months using a mobile phone, April-July 2010
                                • Auctions, attire, music, film and books top online purchases
                                  • Figure 4: Type of websites purchased from in the last three months, April-July 2010
                                • Big guns dominate online visits
                                  • Figure 5: Top 20 websites visited in the UK, October 2010
                              • Broader Market Environment

                                • Key points
                                  • Austerity era renews focus on value
                                    • Figure 6: GDP, PDI, consumer expenditure and savings, at constant 2010 prices, 2005-15
                                    • Figure 7: GDP quarterly percentage change, Q1 2004-Q2 2010
                                  • Confidence levels resume downward trend after brief rally
                                    • Figure 8: Trends in consumer confidence, September 2007-September 2010
                                  • Recession stimulates in-home leisure
                                    • Figure 9: Spending intentions towards leisure activities in coming year, March 2010
                                  • Population growth trends positive for UGC
                                    • Figure 10: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, by gender, 2005-15
                                  • A larger pool of potential contributors
                                    • Figure 11: Forecast adult population trends, by socio-economic group, 2005-15
                                • Competitive Context

                                  • Key point
                                    • Home-based leisure activities still high up the list
                                      • Figure 12: Participation in leisure activities, 2009
                                  • Strengths and Weaknesses in the Market

                                      • Strengths
                                        • Gives a voice to end-users
                                          • Taps into collective knowledge
                                            • Independent – maybe?
                                              • Free
                                                • Accessible
                                                  • Weaknesses
                                                    • Open to abuse
                                                      • Amateur
                                                        • Limited reach
                                                          • Information overload?
                                                            • Unrepresentative
                                                            • Who’s Innovating?

                                                              • Key points
                                                                • Crowdsourcing gathers pace
                                                                  • Rise of the citizen journalist...
                                                                    • ... or not?
                                                                    • Companies and Products

                                                                      • Key points
                                                                        • Argos
                                                                          • Figure 13: Trends in visits to Argos website, November 2009-October 2010
                                                                        • Amazon
                                                                          • Figure 14: Trends in visits to the Amazon UK website, November 2009-October 2010
                                                                        • B&Q
                                                                          • Figure 15: Trends in visits to B&Q website, November 2009-October 2010
                                                                        • eBay
                                                                          • Figure 16: Trends in visits to eBay website, November 2009-October 2010
                                                                        • Mail Online
                                                                          • Figure 17: Trends in visits to Mail Online website, November 2009-October 2010
                                                                        • YouTube
                                                                          • Figure 18: Trends in visits to YouTube.com website, November 2009-October 2010
                                                                      • In What Ways Are People Exposed to UGC?

                                                                        • Key points
                                                                          • Wiki-leader
                                                                            • Figure 19: Exposure to UGC, August 2010
                                                                          • Video nation
                                                                            • Having a say
                                                                              • Post-haste
                                                                                • Twitter ye not
                                                                                  • What are the characteristics of people reading/viewing UGC?
                                                                                    • Facebook users and Twitter followers have heaviest exposure to UGC
                                                                                      • Figure 20: Regular exposure to UGC, by regular exposure to UGC, August 2010
                                                                                  • In What Ways Are People Contributing to UGC?

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Contribution levels notably lower than exposure to UGC
                                                                                        • Figure 21: Contribution of UGC, August 2010
                                                                                      • The Generation Game
                                                                                      • What Do People Think About UGC?

                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                          • Feedback matters
                                                                                            • Figure 22: Attitudes towards user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                          • The alternative viewpoint?
                                                                                            • Potential to overwhelm?
                                                                                              • Characteristics of those positive towards UGC similar to readers and contributors
                                                                                                • People who are exposed to UGC more positive than average…
                                                                                                  • Figure 23: Attitudes towards user-generated content, by most popular levels of exposure to user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                • … as are those who contribute UGC
                                                                                                  • Figure 24: Attitudes towards user-generated content, by most popular levels of contribution of user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Attitudes towards user-generated content, by next most popular levels of contribution to user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Attitudes towards user-generated content, by other most popular levels of contribution of user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Attitudes towards user-generated content, by least popular levels of contribution of user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                • Improving the breed
                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Attitudes towards user-generated content, by most popular attitudes towards user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Attitudes towards user-generated content, by next most popular attitudes towards user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                              • How Does UGC Influence Buying Behaviour and Decision-making?

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Reviews count
                                                                                                    • Figure 30: How user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, August 2010
                                                                                                  • Men and younger people most likely to be influenced by UGC
                                                                                                    • Exposure to UGC more likely than average to influence purchase decisions
                                                                                                      • Figure 31: How user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, by most popular levels of exposure to user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                    • Contributors even more likely to be influenced
                                                                                                      • Figure 32: How user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, by most popular levels of contribution of user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                      • Figure 33: How user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, by next most popular levels of exposure to user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                      • Figure 34: How user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, by other most popular levels of contribution of user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                      • Figure 35: How user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, by least popular levels of contribution of user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                    • Positive views of UGC result in more purchasing activity
                                                                                                      • Figure 36: How user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, by most popular attitudes towards user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                      • Figure 37: How user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making by next most popular attitudes towards user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                    • Video viewing benefit?
                                                                                                      • Figure 38: How user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, by most popular ways in which user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, August 2010
                                                                                                      • Figure 39: How user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, by next most popular ways in which user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, August 2010
                                                                                                  • UGC Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                      • Figure 40: User-generated content target groups, May 2010
                                                                                                    • Embracers
                                                                                                      • Demographics
                                                                                                        • Marketing message
                                                                                                          • Reluctants
                                                                                                            • Demographics
                                                                                                              • Marketing message
                                                                                                                • Luddites
                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                    • Marketing message
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – In What Ways Are People Exposed to UGC?

                                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Most popular types of user-generated content exposed to (all users), by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Next most popular types of user-generated content exposed to (all users), by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 43: Most popular types of user-generated content exposed to regularly, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 44: Next most popular types of user-generated content exposed to regularly, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 45: Most popular user-generated content exposed to occasionally, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 46: Next most popular user-generated content exposed to occasionally, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – In What Ways Are People Contributing to UGC?

                                                                                                                        • Figure 47: Most popular contribution of user-generated content (all users), by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 48: Next most popular user-generated content contributed (all users), by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 49: Next most popular user-generated content contributed (all users), by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 50: Other user-generated content contributed (all users), by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 51: Most popular user-generated content contributed regularly, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 52: Next most popular types of user-generated content contributed regularly, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 53: Other most popular user-generated content contributed regularly, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 54: Least popular user-generated content contributed regularly, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 55: Most popular user-generated content contributed occasionally, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 56: Next most popular user-generated content contributed occasionally, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 57: Other most popular user-generated content contributed occasionally, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 58: Least popular user-generated content contributed occasionally, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – What Do People Think About UGC?

                                                                                                                        • Figure 59: Attitudes towards user-generated content, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 60: Agreement with the statement “It is a good way for companies or the media to find out what their customers think”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Agreement with the statement “It provides an interesting alternative viewpoint to that submitted by trained journalists”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Agreement with the statement “The sheer amount of it is overwhelming”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Agreement with the statement “It improves the breadth and range of what we read/view/listen to”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 64: Agreement with the statement “It improves the quality of what I read/view/listen to”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 65: Agreement with the statement “It is more independent/trustworthy than that submitted by trained journalists”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 66: Agreement with the statement “I don’t trust Wikipedia to get all the facts right”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 67: Agreement with the statement “I prefer to read content submitted by trained journalists”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 68: Agreement with the statement “It is less reliable/accurate than content submitted by trained journalists”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 69: Agreement with the statement “I actively avoid reading/viewing it”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – How Does UGC Influence Buying Behaviour and Decision-making?

                                                                                                                        • Figure 70: How user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 71: Agreement with the statement “I usually read reviews of products underneath their online listing”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 72: Agreement with the statement “I’ve bought something as a result of reading a review on a retailer’s website”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 73: Agreement with the statement “I’ve decided not buy something as a result of reading a review on a retailer’s website”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 74: Agreement with the statement “I wouldn’t be influenced by a recommendation on a blog or twitter feed”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 75: Agreement with the statement “I have bought something as a result of viewing a video or video review”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 76: Agreement with the statement “I have decided not to buy something as a result of viewing a video or video review”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 77: Agreement with the statement “I have clicked on an ad next to a blog”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Agreement with the statement “I’ve decided not to buy something as a result of reading a blog or Twitter feed”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 79: Agreement with the statement “I’ve bought something as a result of a recommendation in a blog or twitter feed”, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                    • Appendix – Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                                        • Figure 80: Target groups, by demographics, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 81: Levels of exposure to user-generated content, by target groups, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 82: Levels of contribution of user-generated content, by target groups, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 83: Attitudes towards user-generated content, by target groups, August 2010
                                                                                                                        • Figure 84: How user-generated content has influenced buying behaviour and decision-making, by target groups, August 2010

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                                                                                                                    Impact of User-Generated Content on Media - UK - November 2010

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