Press releases

Book purchasing reaches digital tipping point

20 May 2014

  • Over half (51%) have bought more ebooks than physical copies.
  • The average 16-24 year old has three social networking accounts.

New research from Deloitte on attitudes to the consumption of media shows that the average UK household spends £900 on media a year, with one off purchases such as books, DVDs and newspapers representing 52% of their total media spend. The new report ‘The Digital Divide’ paints a snapshot of a typical media consumer, their newspaper reading habits, attitudes to video gaming, social networking, and television viewing behaviours.

Reading habits

80% of respondents say they read newspapers online or in print, although only 51% pay for it themselves. Another 10% only read free newspapers and further 10% get their newspaper or online news access paid for by someone else.

Print newspapers remain more trusted than online sources, but only marginally 34% trust the news in print to be accurate, compared to 29% who say the same about online sources. Over 65s are the most sceptical, only 31% believe what they read in print and 18% believe what they read online.

Matt Guest, head of Deloitte's digital strategy practice in EMEA, said: “In general people are less trusting of formal news sources than they were last year. Some 43% of respondents who read a newspaper say they are less trusting than last year, versus only 16% who disagree. Whether this is a sign of a structural weakening in the role of the press is of crucial importance to an industry that continues to suffer from the decline of its print legacy. This has not yet been offset by growth in online revenues.”

Giving and receiving books

For the first time a majority of respondents (51%) said they buy more digital books than physical copies.

The most popular way to find out about new books is Amazon (39%) compared to chain bookshops (22%) and only 7% in an independent bookstore. Friend’s recommendations and word of mouth were the second most influential at 30%.

Social networking habits

More than half of respondents (55%) said they saw Facebook as a source of entertainment and 64% said they use Facebook to communicate with others. A third of respondents (36%) said their main reason for using social networks was to discover new content.

Guest added: “Social networks’ role as media curators will become more important as the major media content producers seek to find new sources of growth in a market that is increasingly saturated.”

Deloitte’s research found that young people are accumulating social network accounts rather than consolidating them. The average 16-24 year old has three accounts, compared to two and half for 25-34 year olds.

Guest concluded: “UK consumers continue to enjoy a rich selection of traditional and new media content. Together this contributes to a creative economy that employs 5.6% of the working population and continues to grow strongly.”


Notes to editors

Media consumer report

This is the eighth annual edition of research commissioned by Deloitte’s media & entertainment practice.

Focusing on four generations of respondents, the survey provides a ‘reality check’ on how consumers between the ages of 16 and 75 are interacting with media, entertainment, and information, and what their preferences might be in the future.

The survey was carried out by an independent research firm (IPSOS Mori) during January - February 2014, using an online methodology with 2,000 consumers in the UK.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press. 

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

“Social networks’ role as media curators will become more important as the major media content producers seek to find new sources of growth in a market that is increasingly saturated.” - Matt Guest, Head of Deloitte's Digital Strategy Practice in EMEA

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