Ofcom’s research and data collection programme
Ofcom is an evidence-based regulator, so market research is important to us. Many of our decisions are informed by research evidence, and our market research ensures that we have a thorough, robust and up-to-date understanding of consumers in the UK.
We work with independent market research agencies to conduct research among consumers of all communications services, and with specialist suppliers in areas such as gathering data on the fixed-line and mobile broadband speeds that consumers actually receive.
Our ongoing tracker surveys
We have a number of regular, recurring tracker surveys that are run once a year or more often, to provide us with time-series data about consumers’ behaviour and attitudes in relation to communications devices and services. The tracker surveys feed in to a wide variety of Ofcom’s publications and projects, and all the data releases can be seen in the statistical release calendar, and in Ofcom’s open data portal.
Changes to our tracker surveys
Ofcom’s Complaints Handling Tracker has evolved and, having added questions that allow us to identify respondents who have an impacting/limiting condition and/or are financially vulnerable, for two successive waves, Ofcom analysed these data.
As a result, we identified a higher than expected proportion of respondents with at least one impacting condition and a lower than expected proportion of respondents aged 65 and over, in the sample who complete the complaints handling survey.
We have explored the issue in detail and are proposing to adjust our approach to sampling by evening up the ratio of invites between the two panel sources and increasing the opportunity for over-65s to participate.
It is unclear to what extent these changes will have an effect on trend analysis. However, if it is substantive, this will clearly be explained in the methodology annex when the data is published.
If you would like to comment on this proposed plan, please send your feedback to email@example.com no later than Friday 29 October 2021.
For 2022 Adults’ News Consumption Survey fieldwork we plan to have a reduced CATI (telephone) questionnaire that will only ask respondents platform-level news consumption questions.
If you would like any further details on the planned changes please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research for our regular annual publications
Our annual publications such as the Communications Market Report, the Online Nation report, the Comparing Service Quality report, the Connected Nations report, Media Nations report and our media literacy reports, use data collected from our tracker surveys, as well as data that we collect directly from broadcasters and telecoms operators as part of our regulatory duties, and third-party data that we buy from specialist providers.
Ad-hoc consumer research
We also commission specific pieces of research in response to new topics that arise in the markets we regulate, and in relation to changing or emerging consumer concerns. Recent (2019) examples include our research into online harms and mobile handset charging.
Our market intelligence team collects and analyses information from industry; directly, by using our power to make formal requests; and indirectly, by using third-party information sources. It monitors and interprets market developments and industry trends, across the media and telecommunications sectors and other relevant industries, at company, sector, UK and overseas levels. We publish quarterly telecoms data updates and telecoms and pay-TV complaints statistics, and broadband speeds data.
Where can I find Ofcom’s research and data publications?
We publish our research, so that everyone, including industry stakeholders and consumers, can benefit from it. You can search our research publications on our website. We also publish as much as possible of our raw data as open data, in .csv and similar open formats. There’s also a ‘Fast Facts’ page, for quick reference.