Ofcom report reveals continued popularity of communications services despite recession

If the recession puts Scottish consumers in the uncomfortable position of choosing between eating out or giving up on communications services like TV, radio, broadband and mobile, there’ll likely be a few more empty tables at area restaurants.

New research from UK communications regulator Ofcom shows similar consumer sentiment when it comes to going on holiday or taking on a home improvement project. The Ofcom findings in its fourth “Communications Market Report” reveal that communications services remain important despite hard economic times.

If asked to cut back, 44 percent would trim eating out or going on holiday and 39 percent out pull back on do it yourself home improvements, versus 23 percent who would rein in TV subscriptions, 14 percent who would reduce broadband services and 8 percent who would spend less on home phone service.

Despite the popularity of communications services, consumers in Scotland are seeking ways to save, the report said. According to the report, 42 percent of households in Scotland are taking a discounted bundle of services — two or more services such as telecoms, mobile, broadband and TV — from one operator, up from 38 percent in a year. Further, 47 percent said that they are more likely to take a bundle now than 12 months ago, comparable to the UK-wide figure.

The research also found continued growth in the uptake of DTV among Scottish consumers. A total of 91 percent of consumers in Scotland have adopted DTV, up 6 percent in 2008 and higher than the UK average of 90 percent. Uptake is highest in Edinburgh at 96 percent, followed by Aberdeen at 94 percent and Glasgow at 93 percent.

The highlands and islands in Scotland have the lowest uptake, with 86 percent of households having digital TV.