Ethnic minority groups love their gadgets and home technology

20 August 2013

Consumers from ethnic minority groups are among the keenest in Britain when it comes to embracing the latest technology, new Ofcom research reveals.

Not only do people from ethnic minority groups say they love gadgets more than the British population as a whole (37% compared with 30%), they're also more likely to say it's important that their homes are equipped with the latest technology (32% compared to 20%). This rises to almost a half (47%) of those in the 'Asian Indian' group.

Ethnic minority groups are also more likely to have home broadband and a mobile phone, although they are less likely to watch TV and listen to the radio, compared to the British population as a whole.

Ofcom's research, which supports its duty to have regard to the different ethnic communities within the UK, gives an overview of use of and attitudes towards communications services among ethnic minority groups in Britain. It compares the largest ethnic groups: 'Asian Pakistani', 'Asian Indian', 'Asian Bangladeshi', 'Black Caribbean', 'Black African', 'Mixed Ethnic Groups' and 'Other White' with Ethnic Minority Groups combined and the British population as a whole1.

Mobile phones more important

Mobile phones are generally more important to people in ethnic minority groups than the wider British population. More than half of the Mixed Ethnic (57%), Asian Pakistani (58%), Asian Bangladeshi (57%), Black African (56%) and Asian Indian (54%) groups say they could not do without their mobile phones, compared with 43% of the British population as a whole.

In the Asian Bangladeshi group, one in five (20%) claims to have at least five mobile phones in their households, compared with 5% of the British population as a whole.

Ethnic minority groups also tend to spend more money per month on their mobile phones. Among the Black Caribbean and Black African groups, three in ten (30%) say they spend over £30 a month on average, compared to 16% of the British population as a whole.

Broadband take-up higher

Most ethnic minority groups are more likely to have a broadband connection at home, particularly among the Asian Indian group (82% compared with 71% of the British population as a whole)2.

They’re also more likely to use the internet to download music, especially among mixed ethnic groups (45% compared with 26% of the British population as a whole).

People in the Black African group said they were the most computer-savvy, with two thirds (62%) disagreeing with the statement that computers confuse them. This compares to 53% of the British population as a whole.

A mixed picture for TV

TV and radio consumption varies widely across the different ethnic minority groups. Those in the Asian Indian group are less likely to own a TV and watch TV than the British population as a whole. Eighty-two per cent of Asian Indian people say they own a TV and 93% say that they watch TV, compared with 96% and 99% of the British population as a whole respectively.

Across all ethnic minority groups included in the research, a smaller proportion say they have a TV at home compared to the British population as a whole (90% compared to 96%). Half of those in the Asian Bangladeshi group (50%) have just one TV in their home, compared with a quarter (26%) of the British population as a whole.

One in five (19%) of those in the Black Caribbean group watch more than 40 hours of TV a week, compared with 15% of the British population as a whole. A quarter (26%) of the British population as a whole say that watching TV is their favourite pastime, much lower than the Asian Pakistani group (41%), Asian Indians (40%) and Asian Bangladeshis (38%).

More than a third of the Asian Bangladeshi and Asian Pakistani groups (36% and 35% respectively) and 30% of the Asian Indian group say that they rely on TV to keep them informed. This compares with an average of 25% for the British population as a whole.

Larger proportions of ethnic minority groups view TV on demand on their computers and mobile phones. While fewer than one in five (18%) of the British population as a whole had used a computer to view TV on demand, as many as a quarter (25%) of the Asian Bangladeshi group said that they viewed TV in this way.

Radio less popular

Listening to the radio is generally less popular among ethnic minority groups, with 40% of Asian Bangladeshis tuning in weekly, compared with 79% of the British population as a whole.

A third (30%) of adults in the British population as a whole say they have a DAB radio at home, compared with 7% of those in the Asian Bangladeshi group.

The Ethnic Minority Groups and Communication Services report can be found here.

ENDS

NOTES FOR EDITORS

  1. All survey respondents in this report classified themselves as being part of an ethnic group.  The “"Other White" Group represents all people who said that they were from a white ethnic group, apart from "White British" or "White Irish". The "Mixed Ethnic" group represents all who classified themselves as being from a Mixed Ethnic group, including "White and Black Caribbean", "White and Black African", "White and Asian" or "any other mixed background".
  2. The research collected information via a printed survey or online questionnaire from a representative sample of around 25,000 adults in England, Wales and Scotland annually. In order to create sufficient samples for each of the ethnic minority groups analysed in this report, three years of data from 2009-2012 was merged together avoiding duplication and maintaining representativeness through weighting to the 2011 British census.
  3. Ofcom publishes this report to support its regulatory goal to research markets constantly and to remain at the forefront of technological understanding. Under Section 4(l) of the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom must also have regard to the different ethnic communities within the United Kingdom.