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PRESS RELEASE: Majority of Brits feel 'upset' without Internet connection

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Intersperience research highlights people’s emotional dependency on technology

• 53% of Brits feel ‘upset’ when deprived of internet connection
• 40% of people surveyed feel ‘lonely’ when not able to go online
• Challenge of 24 hours without digital devices described as ‘nightmare’
                                                                 
London, UK, July 22 -
A new study into the impact of online and digital technology on people’s lives in the UK found that more than half of the people surveyed felt ‘upset’ at the prospect of being deprived of an internet connection even for a short time.

The extent of people’s ‘digital dependency’ in their everyday lives was revealed by international consumer research specialist Intersperience in a new project entitled ‘Digital Selves'. The project, which surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 individuals from age 18 to over 65s, questioned people about their 'digital lives' including their attitudes and use of the internet, smartphones and other connected devices.

The project also involved qualitative research, including challenging participants to get through one full day without using technology. Giving up technology was considered by some to be as hard as quitting smoking or drinking, while one survey participant described it as 'like having my hand chopped off' and another called it 'my biggest nightmare'.

A significant number of people ‘cheated’ by switching on the television or radio as they did not regard them as ‘technology.’ Others agreed to the challenge but turned their mobile phones to silent, regarding being completely disconnected even for one day as 'inconceivable'.

Many participants found it extremely hard to resist the temptation to go online, especially those for whom online communication represents a large part of their social interaction. A total of 40% of people felt ‘lonely’ when not engaging in activities such as social networking, emails, texting or watching their favourite television channels.

Younger people, who tend to be heavier users of social media and text messaging, found giving up technology the most difficult while older people (over-40s) generally coped more easily when cut off from digital connections. Only a minority of those surveyed reacted positively to the prospect of being without an internet connection, with 23% saying they would feel 'free'.

Paul Hudson, Chief Executive of Intersperience said: “Online and digital technology is increasingly pervasive. Our Digital Selves research shows how just dominant a role it now assumes, influencing our friendships, the way we communicate, the fabric of our family life, our work lives, our purchasing habits and our dealings with organisations.”

He added: “We have gathered clear evidence that the UK has fully entered the Digital Age. The resulting stepchange in the way we engage with technology has occurred faster than many of us had anticipated. This has profound implications for society both from a personal and commercial perspective. We are about to embark on a new study looking exclusively at digital engagement in Under-18s which we expect to highlight even more radical developments in the behaviour and attitudes of children and teenagers.”

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NOTES TO EDITORS

About Intersperience:

Intersperience is an international consumer research specialist with expertise in consumer behaviour, experience and attitudes. The team, which is headquartered in Cumbria, has more than 25 years experience in analysing consumer behaviour. It employs a range of interpretative models and frameworks including a proprietary online research platform. Intersperience has significant global expertise and an international research hub at Lancaster University, which conducts research in more than 60 languages as well as associates in major global markets. Intersperience is an expert in how technology impacts on consumer behaviour and multi-channel customer service strategy. Clients include: The British Council; General Motors; Iceland; Samsung; ScottishPower; and William Hill.

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