UCL News


Britain's digital tribes revealed

8 August 2006

Households in Britain can be classified into 23 "e-types" depending on their access to technology, say researchers.

The researchers, from UCL, say the profiles could be used to inform future policies on access to digital technology.

Every postcode in Britain has been assigned a classification which people can check online to see if they agree with the researcher's analysis.

"What really emerges is that almost all of the types have some interaction with technology," said Professor Paul Longley [UCL Geography], who led the study. …

"In a sense we are all digital now." …

The team used information from the electoral roll, the most recent census and data firm Experian to produce maps of Britain showing different levels of access and use of technology. …

Overall they identified eight groups which ranged from the "e-unengaged" to "e-experts". …

"A decade ago people talked about just two groups but life is no longer that simple," said Professor Longley.

The eight groups were further subdivided into 23 e-types to describe particular ways people used technology. For example in the e-unengaged group there are six e-types including "mobiles the limit", "cable suffices" and "technology as fantasy".

"We're not implying that there is a ladder with some people on the bottom and some people at the top and everyone is trying to climb the ladder," said Professor Longley.

"What comes out of this is that different people get different things out of technologies like the internet." …

The team are now encouraging people to check their postcode and send the researchers feedback on their analysis.

People who disagree with their assigned e-type can send Professor Longley and his team their own classification from the list of eight groups and 23 types.

"We're trying to generalise right down to the level of every postcode. It's inevitable that we will have got some wrong." …

Jonathan Fildes, BBC News Online