Media Literacy Audit - Digital Lifestyles: Hesitants, Resistors and Economisers

13 February 2015

Executive summary

Background to the segmentation and this report

As part of the 2008 Media Literacy Audit research(-1-), data about people's attitudes and behaviours relating to communications technologies were analysed and a total of five segments were identified, based on the relationship people have with media devices.

This report gives a brief overview of all five segments identified though the attitudinal and behavioural questions, and looks in detail at the three particular segments that have lower take-up and use of media devices; these segments are referred to as 'Hesitants', 'Economisers' and 'Resistors'. These segments are useful as they illustrate the types of people who tend to have lower levels of digital engagement and to show that within these there are people with different characteristics, demographics, behaviours and attitudes. By looking at each of the different segments compared to the general adult population and compared to each other, we can see the different ways in which the development and promotion of media literacy can be targeted, to reach particular segments rather than the group as a whole.

Segmentation analysis groups people together based on their defining behaviours and attitudes, but within each group there are still differences between individuals. As mentioned above, the three segments all tend to have lower take-up and use of different devices, and people within these segments account for 91% of all UK adults who do not have access to the internet at home(-2-).

The following table summarises the attitudes and behaviours of each of the five segments across the whole of the adult population. Details of the size of each of the five segments in the UK population, and the demographic profile of the three segments of interest, are shown in section 2.

Summary of attitudes to media services, by segment
  Engaged Pragmatist Economisers Hesitants Resistors
More likely to be... Younger, ABC1, in metropolitan areas including deprived areas 35-54, ABC1 and affluent Younger, C2DE, from metropolitan areas Older (although 43% under 45), more women than men Older
Most likely to own and use Everything Everything within reason where they can see a benefit Everything but the internet with one eye on costs A mobile phone, but probably live in households with things they don't use Nothing, or only digital television
Most likely to say I couldn't do without it. Thats clever 
how do I get more out of it?
What use is it  will I use it? I'd really like to be able to do that Someone else does that Its just not for me
Most likely to be put off because I have too many other things to do I can already do that another way  why do I need this as well? I cant afford it I don't know where to start, I'm afraid of breaking it I'd get no value or benefit from this

Key characteristics of Resistors, Hesitants and Economisers

The following section aims to bring to life the three segments looked at in detail within this report Resistors, Hesitants and Economisers .

Resistors (10% of UK adults)

The Resistors tend to be detached from digital services, believing them to be of little relevance to their lives - and actively resist technology adoption.

Resistors are considerably less likely than the general adult population to have taken up digital television or the internet at home, and they also tend not to have mobile phones. Take-up of the internet is unlikely to change among this segment in the immediate future, as a clear majority of non-owners feel they have no need for the internet.

While television is important to Resistors, few of those with a multichannel television service have any interest in the interactive services available. A majority of Resistors are unaware of funding and regulation for newer media, and they are also less aware of the 9pm television watershed.

Compared to the general adult population, Resistors are both less likely to have any experience of learning about digital technology and less likely to have any interest in this type of learning.

Resistors are more likely than the general population to be 65 or older, female, not working (often retired), and close to half live on their own. Money is likely to be an issue as they tend to be in the E socio-economic group. They are more likely to have a health condition or disability than the average population.

Hesitants (31% of UK adults)

The Hesitants may have access to a range of digital services at home, but they tend to use them little, primarily due to a lack of confidence, knowledge or interest.

Hesitants are as likely as all UK adults to use a mobile phone on a regular basis, but their interest in using their mobile phone is mostly limited to calls and texts.

Compared with the general adult population, Hesitants are less likely to live in households with digital television. Interest in using the interactive services available with digital television is lower among Hesitants.

Again compared with the general adult population, Hesitants are less likely to live in households with the internet. In addition, they are less likely to say they will get internet access at home in the next year, mostly through choice.

Among those that do have access to the internet at home, Hesitants use the internet for fewer functions or activities, for fewer hours per week and with considerably less confidence compared to adults as a whole. While some Hesitants are simply not interested in the tasks that can be performed using the internet, others lack confidence.

The relative lack of experience with, and confidence in, using the internet also affects the judgements that Hesitants make regarding websites and their concerns about providing personal information online. Hesitants are both less likely to make checks on, or judgements about, websites and more likely to say they would not be prepared to provide personal information on the internet. In addition, few are confident that they can tell whether a website is truthful and reliable. Among Hesitants, a majority are unaware of funding and regulation for newer media.

There is a clear preference for learning about digital technology through friends and family over more formal or more independent methods. Among some, there is also an indication of an appetite to learn about the internet.

Although this group tends to be older (65+), four in ten are aged 44 or under, and although more likely to be female than the general population, over four in ten are males. They are more likely to be in C2DE socio-economic groups and less likely to be working than the overall adult population.

Economisers (8% of UK adults)

Although Economisers take-up of other digital media, such as digital television and mobile phones, is at similar levels to all UK adults, they are considerably less likely to have access to the internet at home.

The Economisers see clear value in the full range of benefits that digital services can offer and take advantage of the platforms at their disposal but costs, whether perceived or actual, may be limiting further take-up and use, particularly of the internet.

Economisers tended to say that they were unsure if they would get internet access at home in the next year. This is likely to be linked to perceived affordability issues relating to getting access and paying a monthly subscription, but may also be partly due to Economisers being more likely to live in the parental home.

Half of all Economisers currently using the internet do so only outside the home: five times the level found across all internet users. Economisers are less confident internet users and use the internet differently to the general adult population; for example, relatively few use the internet for communication (emails, chatrooms or instant messaging), information sourcing or transactions, and they are less likely to trust what they encounter online. The relative lack of experience with, and confidence in using, the internet also affects the judgements that Economisers make regarding websites and their concerns about providing personal information online.

Compared to adults as a whole, Economisers are relatively unaware of how television programmes and radio stations are funded and whether they are regulated.

Economisers show more willingness to learn independently, through reading manuals or trial and error, compared to the other segments with lower take-up of digital media, but few state a preference for formal learning. There is also a greater degree of interest in learning about digital technology among Economisers.

Half of all Economisers are aged 16-34 and most are in C2DE socio-economic groups, particularly DE.

The full document is available below