UK Online Porn Ban: Web Traffic Analysis of Britain’s Porn Affair

Earlier this week, the UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron announced that online pornography will be blocked by default in the UK. This means that every household in Britain connected to the internet will be obliged to declare whether they want to maintain access to online pornography.

Using SimilarWeb data I wanted to dig deeper into the subject to find out three things: firstly, how much of the UK’s web traffic is affected by the ‘corroding influence’ of pornography; secondly, see how the UK compares to other countries when it comes to adult content; and finally, understand what’s the demand for online pornography in the UK.

Porn Traffic is Bigger than all Social Networks Combined

We analyzed the UK’s web traffic in June and broke it down by category, finding that an astonishing 8.50% of the UK’s web traffic in June 2013 took place in adult sites. To put this in context, traffic across all social networks combined accounted for 7.30% of the UK’s web traffic in June and Shopping for 6.06%.

I already knew heard that porn was big on the web, but not bigger than Facebook!

Only two categories surpass porn in terms of traffic volume – Search Engines and Arts & Entertainment (thanks to YouTube) which accounted for 15.65% and 9.59% of the UK’s web traffic in June.

Traffic_by_Category

SimilarWeb Study, July 2013

 

UK porn consumption above worldwide average, but Germans take the crown

The Worldwide average share of adult traffic is 7.65%, nearly a point below UK (8.50%). Interestingly, Ireland also consumes less adult content than the UK and it’s slightly below the global average with 7.45% share of adult traffic. Stereotypes are bad but Germans take the crown when it comes to porn consumption – 12.47% of their traffic takes place on adult sites.

Share_by_Country

SimilarWeb Study, July 2013

 

Searching For Porn

The fact is that most of the time people don’t just stumble upon adult content. When analyzing Google UK’s outgoing traffic over the past 3 months, we see that 8.19% of searches led to Adult websites. What’s more, I looked into the Top 20 sites receiving traffic from Google UK (list below) and 5 out this Top 20 sites are adult. Pornhub.com is the biggest winner of Google traffic and even made it to the Top 10. Over 1% of Google UK’s outgoing traffic ended up in Pornhub – that is a lot of traffic! To put it in perspective, the Top 5 Adult sites combined receive nearly as many visits from Google UK as BBC does.

google

SimilarWeb Study, July 2013

Food For Thought

Porn is a big part of the internet. Not just in the UK but around the globe. Filtering porn sites is not an easy job (that’s why we spent 4 years perfecting the best Adult Detection Technology at SimilarWeb!) yet it ultimately comes down to what people search for and what they want to see. The quick and easy access to pornography is indeed a phenomenon that the internet accelerated, but we live in a multi-device society and when there’s a will there’s a way. When people started setting up wifi networks in their homes, neighbours often “borrowed” their internet connection – soon, the favorite neighbor on the block might be the one that ‘opts in’.

Shocked? Questions? Thoughts? Tweet me at @MrBuchuk and follow us to get the latest SimilarWeb news here.

About the Author -

Head of Brand & Strategy for SimilarWeb. Obsessed with web measurement, the internet, pop music and great TV. Wannabe cool-hunter.

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