Nuremberg, 23.03.2017

Over half of UK's online population reads books either daily or at least once a week

Nuremberg, March 23, 2017 – A 17-country report just released by global market analysts, GfK, shows that 30 percent of the international online population read books “every day or most days”. This is lead by China at 36 percent, closely followed by the UK and Spain at 32 percent each. However, if the segment is widened to include both daily readers and those who read “at least once a week”, the international total rises to 59 percent, with China firmly in the lead (70 percent of its population), followed by Russia (59 percent) and Spain (57 percent). 

In the UK, 32 percent of the online population claim to read books 'every day' - with this figure being driven largely by women, of whom 36 percent reading books every day, compared to the men at 27 percent. On top of this, a further 24 percent in the UK overall say they read books at least once a week (22 percent of women and 27 percent of men). By contrast, eight percent admit to 'never' reading books - slightly above the international average of six percent, but just beating their peers in the USA (ten percent) and France (11 percent).

High income households more likely to read books frequently than low income

Internationally, over a third (35 percent) of people in high income households say they read books ‘every or most days’, compared to a quarter (24 percent) of those in low income households. Added to this, one in ten people in low income households claim that they ‘never’ read books; triple the percentage reported in high income households (three percent).

Women are more likely to be avid book readers than men

Internationally, 32 percent of women report reading books every or most days, compared to 27 percent of men. This gender gap amongst the daily book readers is widest in the Netherlands (30 percent of women versus 14 percent of men) and Spain (40 percent of women versus 25 percent of men) , followed by Canada (36 percent of women versus 23 percent of men) and Germany (31 percent of women versus 19 percent of men).

Non-readers for books highest in Netherlands and South Korea

The Netherlands and South Korea have the highest percentage of their online population who report never reading books, standing at 16 percent each. In South Korea, this is fairly evenly divided between men and women, but in the Netherlands it is heavily led by men, with 23 percent never reading books, compared to just 9 percent of women. The countries with the next highest proportion of those who never read books are Belgium (14 percent), and Canada, France and Japan (all 11 percent).

Mathias Giloth in GfK Entertainment, comments, “The value of these findings for the book industry lies in combining this self-reported data with analysis of actual sales across different markets and insights from our retail and consumer panels. With this multi-layered approach, we help our clients to fine-tune their audience segmentation and identify customer potential, both globally and at country-specific level.” 

Download the complimentary report of 80+ quick-view charts, showing breakdown by income, age groups and gender for each of 17 countries.

Frequency of reading books: international overview

Frequency of reading books: 17-country comparison

UK: frequency of reading books by age group

About the study

GfK conducted the online survey with over 22,000 consumers aged 15 or older across 17 countries. Fieldwork was completed in summer 2016. Data are weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the online population aged 15+ in each market. Countries covered are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Russia, South Korea, Spain, UK and USA. 

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