We’re starting the new year as we mean to go on, with a thought-provoking round-up of stats.

Read on for news about retail sales, social media usage, life after GDPR, and lots more. Check out the Internet Statistics Database while you’re at it – there’s tonnes more to get stuck into it.

Complaints to ICO have increased 113% post-GDPR

A new study by GDPRPLAN.com has revealed a rise in the number of complaints reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office since the EU GDPR came into effect.

From May to October 2018, there were 24,319 complains to the ICO, which is 12,899 more than the same period in 2017 (where there were 11,420 cases in total). This represents a 113% increase year-on-year. There were also 21,162 data protection specific complaints between May and October 2018, compared to 9,099 cases across the same period in 2017.

This rise shows that – following on from GDPR – the general public appears to be more aware of their rights in relation to personal information, and that they are now far more likely to take action and report companies if they’re not happy with the way this information is being used.

GDPR infographic

More on GDPR compliance:

How marketers are navigating GDPR compliance creatively

46% of internet users reduced time spent on social media in 2018

GlobalWebIndex’s Consumer Trends for 2019 report suggests that stepping away or downsizing on social media has become an increasing trend throughout the past year.

From its survey, it found that 46% of the internet population in the US say they have decreased time spent on social networks, while 41% of people say the same in the UK. Interestingly, younger people are the most keen to decrease their daily time on social media, with 58% of 16 to 24 year olds citing this desire, versus 43% of 35 to 44 year olds.

Among those who have decreased their time on social media, almost six in 10 have decreased their time to “much less” or “a great deal less”. Interestingly, women also say they use Facebook less, while men say they use Instagram more than before.

social media usage

Boxing Day footfall declines for the third year in a row

Boxing Day is traditionally a big day for retail, however it’s been revealed that sales on UK high streets dropped for the third year in a row in 2018.

According to data from retail analysts Springboard, the average number of visitors to shopping centres, high streets, and retail parks declined 3.1% year-on-year this past Boxing Day.

In comparison to shopping centres (down 4.7%) and retail parks (down 6.5%), the high street actually performed quite robustly, seeing a decline in footfall of just 1% between 12pm and 2pm.

Interestingly, London’s West End appeared to be the exception, with the area seeing a ‘Boxing Day bounce’ of 15% increased footfall. This looks to be largely due to international shoppers and tourists that came to the capital for Christmas and new year.

More on high street retail:

How can struggling high street retailers step up their online strategies?

Love Island beats politics for the most engaging TV content of 2018

According to new data from Kantar Media, reality television has driven the highest level of social media engagement during the past year, even more so than current affairs programmes.

Measuring engagement among UK viewers between between 1st December 2017 and 30th November 2018, Kantar found that there was a total of 75 million tweets relating to TV, and 28 billion impressions overall. Entertainment programmes generated 32 million tweets during the period, following by 20 million for drama, and 13 million for current affairs.

Love Island was the most talked about TV series on Twitter throughout the year, with a total of 6.3 million Tweets, 18 million likes, and 60% of all interactions taking the form of retweets. In comparison, current affairs show Question Time generated just 2.5 million Tweets.

The Love Island effect also hugely benefitted retail brand Missguided, who sponsored the programme. 15,000 Tweets relating to Love Island mentioned Missguided, while 56% of all brand mentions also happened across Love Island-related posts on Instagram, forums, and blogs.

More on Love Island:

Consumers want brands that are ‘warm’ and ‘competent’

According to research featured in the Journal of Advertising Research, warmth and competence are the two characteristics that consumers look for (and are best perceived) in brands.

However, the study also states that having just one of these characteristics can lead to ineffective advertising, as consumers look for the omitted trait. Warc reports that advertising should include warmth as well as competence to be most effective, with consumers more likely to buy products from brands that display both.

China predicted to have 85.5 million smart speaker users in 2019

eMarketer suggests that the number of smart speaker users in China will reach 85.5 million in 2019, surpassing the US who will have 74.2 million.

Despite this, penetration in the US is said to be higher at 26% of internet users, compared to 10% in China. This is likely to be to earlier adoption in the US, with the Amazon Echo arriving in 2014, while China waited until 2016 to receive the JD.com Ding Dong.

Here in the UK, 22.4% of internet users have also used a smart speaker, a figure higher than both France and Germany where adoption is at 14% and 17.2% respectively.

smart speakers