UK surfers have short attention spans

Get online, whizz from site to site... is the content good enough?

We may be paying through the nose for surfing the Web but when we get on it, are we interested? A new report suggests not.

The Who's using the Internet survey conducted by research firm NetValue found that the average UK user is spending around 6 hours per month online at a cost of £15, putting the total monthly Internet spend for the UK at around £100m a month. While the amount of money users are spending will be music to the ears of telcos, the short amount they devote to each Web site will not please content providers and advertisers.

According to NetValue managing director Alki Manias, e-merchants need to sit up and take notice. "Internet use is becoming like TV user with the average user spending just six minutes per domain," he said. "For e-merchants this is a stark wake-up call -- if you don't get the message across in six minutes you are unlikely to increase traffic," he said.

A separate survey published by the Office for National Statistics has found there is still a divide between information-haves and have-nots. 70 percent of UK households in the top income group have a home PC, compared to just 10 percent of households in the poorest income bracket. Of these only 4 percent of households in the poorest income bracket are connected to the Internet, compared to 32 percent in the highest.