7.5 million people are being left behind in the tech revolution

Experian uses new research to map out Britain’s digital landscape

UK, 25 July 2016 – Comprehensive analysis about the way people are using data and technology has revealed a distinct digital divide. Experian’s new consumer classification of today’s digital landscape, Mosaic Digital, has exposed a population separated into three - with high, moderate and low users of data-driven, digital devices.

We’re a nation of dawdlers, devotees and day-to-day doers when it comes to our digital habits.  

By combining consumer surveys, together with measurement of web traffic and geo-demographic databases, a clearer picture of digitalisation in England, Scotland and Wales has emerged.

“What we’ve found is that the ‘Digital Divide’[1] is a reality, with the population split into not two, but three levels of engagement with the digital world,” said Richard Jenkings, senior consultant at Experian.

“Delve deeper, and we have identified eleven distinct groups of people, all consuming data-driven technology in different ways, with widely differing access and speed of services at home and on their mobile devices.

“It would be easy to think that today we are all using digital technology for the same things and at the same rate of consumption. However, what we’ve discovered is that clearly isn’t the case.

Internet connection speeds are shown to have an impact, but so do many other behavioural factors, including underlying attitudes towards technology. Some people are riding the digital wave, while others are at being left behind.”

The consumption of data-driven, digital technology has clear implications for people’s life experience. For example, the way they manage their finances, do their shopping or pay their bills, as well as the way they interact with organisations, institutions and other people.

“Businesses and public sector organisations need to think about what this means for them when it comes to communicating with their audiences,” added Jenkings. 

“In the digitalised world, the customer journey is profoundly influenced which connected devices people are using, their level of digital engagement and attitudes towards technology in general. Businesses have to know what devices and channels their audience is using and tailor their comms accordingly. A one size fits all approach simply doesn’t work anymore”   

Being left behind – The ‘Digital Dawdlers’

Around 7.5 million (15.6% of the population) people are being left behind in the digital revolution, either because of old age and a lack of know-how or interest in new technology, or by the limited or slow provision of broadband in the places where they live. Locations in the far reaches of Scotland feature highly in this group, alongside rural locations and seaside towns such as Scarborough, Boston and Lowestoft. 

Leading Edge - The ‘Digital Devotees’

About a third of people in the UK (32.4%) fall into the leading edge users of digital technology. They have the most devices, spend more time on-line and use digital services for the widest range of activities. They are most at home in the digital world and would find it extremely hard to do without digital technology. There is a clear urban bias in evidence here. Locations in this group are dominated by London boroughs, as well as other metropolitan areas across the UK, including Manchester and Birmingham.

Practical users - The ‘Day-to-Day Doers’

About half of the population (52%) are defined as practical day-to-day users of the internet and digital services. Their use is characterised less by enthusiasm for the latest technology and the must have gadget, and more by a set of practical uses that benefit them on a daily basis. This includes search, paying bills, entertainment and being active on social media and other forums. Locations that feature highly in this group include suburban areas and commuter towns, such as Epsom, Orpington and Altrincham.

Maps showing the UK’s digital landscape are available on request.




Mosaic Digital classifies consumers in the UK into one of 11 groups:

A Capital connections

B Digital Frontier

C Mobile City

D First-Gen Parents

E Aspirant Frontier

F Online Escapists

G Upmarket Browsers

H Savvy Switchers

I Cyber Commuters

J Beyond Broadband

K Tentative Elders


Snapshot definition of each of these 11 groups:

  • Capital Connections

Affluent urban professionals immersed in digital technology, which plays a key role in the way they organise their lives

Key channel: Smart TV, Smartphone

Internet speed: 50+ Mbit/s

  • Digital Frontier

Young adults with sophisticated online behaviour making full use of modern devices and social media

Key channel: Smartphone

Internet speed: 50+ Mbit/s

  • Mobile City

Members of diverse urban communities, some comfortable, some challenged, who are avid users of social media and mobile

Key channel: Smartphone

Internet speed: 50+ Mbit/s

  • First gen parents

Members of the first digital generation who are now starting their own households and careers

Key channel: Laptop / websites

Internet speed: 50+ Mbit/s

  • Aspirant Frontier

Young singles and students exploring the cutting edge of latest social media and digital innovations

Key channels: Smartphone / Tablet / Social Networks / Netflix

Internet speeds: 30+ Mbit/s

  • Online Escapists

Singles and families with squeezed finances using digital technology for everyday entertainment

Key channel: Smart TV / Smartphone

Internet speed: 50+ Mbit/s

  • Upmarket Browsers

Affluent older families in suburban areas with upmarket tastes making practical use of digital technology

Key channel: Tablet / Print media

Internet speed: Up to 40 Mbit/s

  • Savvy Switchers

Mature middle-income suburban families using digital technology for entertainment and searching for online bargains

Key channel: Traditional channels / PC

Internet speeds: Up to 40 Mbit/s

  • Cyber Commuters

Affluent families living urban lifestyles in rural settings, making practical use of digital technology for information

and shopping

Key channel: Online / PC, Traditional channels

Internet speeds: Up to 8 Mbit/s

  • Beyond Broadband

Older and retired households enjoying life in isolated rural areas beyond broadband, and with limited interest in technology

Key channel: Phone, PC, Traditional channels

Internet speed: Up to 2Mbit/s

  • Tentative Elders

Elderly singles and households with little to no interest in, or access to, digital technology

Key channel: Landline or postal

Internet speed: Up to 16 Mbit/s





Nick Jones


07583 297082


About Experian

We are the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to our clients around the world. We help businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. We also help people to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft. In 2015, we were named by Forbes magazine as one of the ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’.

We employ approximately 17,000 people in 37 countries and our corporate headquarters are in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; California, US; and São Paulo, Brazil.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2016 was US$4.6 billion.

To find out more about our company, please visit http://www.experianplc.com or watch our documentary, ‘Inside Experian’.


[1] The term ‘Digital Divide’ describes a gap in terms of access to and usage of information and communication technology. It was traditionally considered to be a question of having or not having access, but with a global mobile phone penetration of over 95%, it is becoming a relative inequality between those who have more and less bandwidth and more or less skills.