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UK Digital Skills imageUK Digital Skills

There are now 4.3 million people (8%) in the UK with zero Basic Digital Skills - this is 470,000 fewer people than in 2017.

11.3 million adults (21%) do not have all five Basic Digital Skills.

The proportion of UK citizens with the full five skills has plateaued. 11.3 million people have limited abilities online – the main tasks that the UK population are unable to do are:

  • 43% (23.2 million) of the UK are not able to create something new from existing online images, music or video.
  • 24% (13 million) of the UK are not able to verify the sources of information found online.
  • 16% (8.6 million) of the UK are not able to fill out an online application form.

There are 3.2 million people on the cusp of the full five skills. If they were to gain the missing skill, there would be 8.1 million people without Basic Digital Skills.

Financial Resilience imageFinancial Resilience

There are now 8.5 million people (17%) who would struggle immediately if their income were to stop; this is 1.1m more people than in 2017.

  • The 30-39 age group are 54% more likely to struggle immediately compared to 2017.
  • 44% of people without a bank account struggle to cope with their finances, this compares to 14% of the rest of the UK.

However, there are 1.3 million more people who could support themselves for three months or more, suggesting a growing divide in the population’s financial safety net.

  • 34.8 million people in  the UK have high financial capability.
  • There are 25% more 18-24 year olds who could cope for 3 months or more.
  • There are 190,000 fewer people without a bank account which could contribute towards the UK's increased resilience.

Financial health is impacting the UK’s mental health: 39% of UK adults say that money worries have 'really affected them' at some point, and they suffer from lack of sleep and feelings of anxiety:

  • Women are 38% more likely than men to suffer with anxiety because of finances.
  • People with a registered disability are 50% more likely to not feel in control of their finances than the rest of the UK.
  • People without a bank account are more than three times as likely to feel anxious just thinking about money.
  • Managing money online can help, for example 73% of young people say that being able to access their finances 24/7 helps reduce their
    financial anxiety.

Inclusivity imageInclusivity

There are key groups who could benefit from digital the most:

  • 25% (3.5 million) of people with a registered disability are offline; they are four times more likely not to be online.
  • 28% of those over 60 are not online; 84% of this group say ‘nothing’ could motivate them to get online.
  • 18% of the UK adults claiming benefits (1.2 million people) have low or no digital capability at all – this is compared with the UK average of 15%.
  • 56% of people without a bank account have the full five Basic Digital Skills compared with the 79% UK average.

There are key audiences who need greater support with digital and financial skills:

  • Only one third of UK adults receive money management advice; people with low financial capability are almost twice as likely to not seek financial advice.
  • One in three people in the UK do not have a trusted person to talk to about their finances.
  • While trusted faces help people get online, 82% of those online say further digital development is self-taught.

Learn to Earn imageLearn to Earn

Currently 10% of the workforce do not have Basic Digital Skills. This group earns £13,000 less than those with all five Basic Digital Skills. Those currently unemployed are also almost three times as likely to have limited digital use.

The biggest driver for improving digital skills is enhancing work based performance and productivity:

  • Of those who feel they have developed digital skills in the last year, 30% (9 million people) said that the biggest motivation was a desire to improve performance and productivity at work.

There is an opportunity for employers to provide more support:

  • Almost one in two (47%) of the population use the internet in the workplace.
  • Of that group, only 14% of them have developed their digital skills through work in the last 12 months.

The future workforce can't be taken for granted:

  • 11% of 18-29 year olds say they have developed their digital skills and ability to use online services at school, rising to 37% for those currently in the school system.
  • 700,000 11-18 year olds have no home internet access from a computer or tablet.

Helping People Prosper imageHelping People Prosper

For the online population, there are a number of benefits:

  • 4 in 10 say being online helps them feel less alone.
  • 7 in 10 say it helps them save time.
  • 5 in 10 say it has helped them find a job.
  • 7 in 10 say digital banking helps them avoid overdraft fees.

These benefits are even greater for certain groups:

  • For those with a disability, those online are 27% more likely than the rest of the UK to say the Internet helps them feel less alone.
  • For one in three 60 year olds, digital skills helps them to manage and improve their health and also to feel less alone.

...and digital helps financial resilience. Those with high digital capability:

  • Check their finances more than three times as often and feel more in control.
  • Save nearly twice as often and more than twice as much.
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Tools and resources

Our useful tools and resources include information on best practice and how to act on key findings.

Tools and resources

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Download the report

Download the 2018 UK Consumer Digital Index for more detail.

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Download appendix (PDF)