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TNS Puts Results of Huge Digital Life Research Project Online



If you like stats and graphics, you’ll go positively mad over a new website by custom research agency TNS. The website is called DiscoverDigitalLife.com and it’s a public repository for the massive amounts of data collected in regard to consumer’s online behavior and attitudes.

The study covers 48,804 people from 46 countries, ranging in age from 16 to 60 and TNS claims they’ve discovered “major changes in online behavior.” They probably have but it will take you awhile to find it if you try to dig it out yourself. To help you, TNS has turned all the facts and figures into pretty graphics and it’s impressive.

When you visit www.discoverdigitallife.com you’ll find a “taster” sampler of data that delivers a lot more than your average appetizer. Right away you can choose from several small pdf presentations including a look at the six lifestyle segments and the drivers of online behavior.

Where it really gets fun is when you click on what looks like a video graphic which actually opens up into an interactive visualization of data. Once inside you can choose to look at sections such as “What Are They Doing” and “For How Long.” Inside those pages are dropdowns for categories such as shopping, entertainment, social media and email and each of these presents a screen of colorful boxes, each representing a country in the survey. Click a country box and you get an even more detailed screen with more graphics and more data.

Says  TNS Chief Development Officer Matthew Froggatt;

“This study covers more than twice as many markets as any other research. It is the first truly global research into online activities, including all the key emerging markets of the BRICs and many of the ‘Next 11′.  We have also researched beyond basic behaviour to provide more detailed data into attitudes and emotional drivers of that behaviour.”

TNS was kind enough to offer some of the key findings in their press release:

  • Globally, people who have on-line access have digital sources as their number one media channel .  61% of online users use the internet daily against 54% for TV, 36% for Radio and 32% for Newspapers.
  • Online consumers in rapid growth markets have overtaken mature markets in terms of engaging with digital activities .  When looking at behaviour online, rapid growth markets such as Egypt (56%) and China (54%) have much higher levels of digital engagement than mature markets such as Japan (20%), Denmark (25%) or Finland (26%).  This is despite mature markets usually having a more advanced internet infrastructure.
  • Growth in social networking has been fuelled by the transition from PC to mobile .  Mobile users spend on average 3.1 hours per week on social networking sites compared to just 2.2 hours on email. The drive to mobile is driven by the increased need for instant gratification and the ability of social networks to offer multiple messaging formats, including the instant message or update function. When looking at how the digital landscape will change in the future, research shows that consumers expect their use of social networking on mobiles to increase more than use through PC.  In the US, for example, a quarter (26%) of online consumers expect their use of social networking on a PC to increase in the next 12 months compared to over a third (36%) who will be looking to their mobile to increase usage. In Australia the figures are 26% and 44% respectively, and in Sweden they are 28% and 53%.

And did you know that folks in Malaysia are the heaviest users of social media? They spend an average of 9 hours a week with Facebook, Twitter and the like and they have an average of 233 friends, making them the most popular people as well. Brazilians are also fun folks with 231 friends while Japanese social media users have the lowest average number of friends at only 29. How sad.

Says Froggatt:

“The Internet is a huge part of life in the 21st century but how it affects our lives varies depending upon where in the world you live.  We’ve seen that in mature markets where people have been online for years and where access is ubiquitous, the Internet has already become a commoditised item that consumers take for granted. However, in rapid growth markets that have seen recent, sustained investment in infrastructure, users are embracing these new channels in much more active ways.”

Discover Digital Life is an excellent asset for anyone doing business internationally, but it’s also just a fascinating look at how the internet is changing the world.