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Social Media Use Gains Critical Mass Amongst Business Elite

LONDON, 24 October 2012 – New research by CNBC, the leading business and financial news network, shows that 2012 was the year of 'implementation' of social media in a business context, with European executives using Twitter and LinkedIn for a range of business and marketing activities.

CNBC's 'Europe's Mobile Elite 2012' study shows that 2012 has been a significant year of 'implementation' for social media in business. Back in 2011, 61% of European executives felt that social networking would change the way we do business in the future, and this has been realised in 2012 with 69% agreeing that 'it's important for businesses to integrate social media into marketing and business plans'.

Twitter's use as a business and marketing tool continues to increase, with 80% of 'Tweeters' claiming that they use it to 'follow the insights of senior business figures or investment strategists', increasing from 61% last year and 31% in 2010.

Membership of social networks continues to grow, with 87% of Europe's elite claiming to be a member of at least one network, up from 74% in 2011 and 60% in 2010.

Facebook continues to be the most widely used site in Europe, with 60% claiming to have an account. LinkedIn membership increased to 45% (up from 31% in 2010 and 41% in 2011) and Twitter to 38% (up from 18% in 2010 and 34% in 2011) of those surveyed.

This year, access to social networking sites in the home has remained well above 90% among users whilst sites accessed on the move (via mobile devices) have increased consistently from 55% in 2010 to 61% in 2011 and 69% this year. The perceived value of social media as a useful business tool over the last three years has fuelled the acceptability of social media in the work place, with 75% of users accessing sites at work vs. 32% in 2010 and 55% in 2011.

The 2012 findings reveal that personal ownership of mobile devices among Europe's affluent increased dramatically this year. iPhone ownership grew steadily between 2010 (19%) and 2011 (21%), but doubled in 2012 to 41% (before the launch of iPhone 5). Similarly, Android ownership grew from 8% in 2010 to 14% in 2011, doubling in 2012 to 28%. Blackberry ownership on the other hand, has increased marginally over the last three years from 18% in 2010 to 20% in 2011, and 23% in 2012.

2012 saw huge increases in tablet sales across Europe with the iPad registered the biggest gains in ownership among Europe's elite this year, increasing from 15% in 2011 to 42% in 2012. Android tablet ownership has also trebled in the last 12 months, growing from 5% last year to 17% in 2012.

Of those owning an iPad in the home, 83% use it themselves (up from 71% in 2011) and the proportion who share the device with their partner has increased from 37% last year to 50% in 2012. Some parents are clearly throwing down some ground rules to 'take back' their iPad, as the proportion sharing the device with their children has dropped from 45% in 2011 to 30% in 2012. It could also imply a possible shift towards children owning their own iPads.

The iPad lends itself perfectly to the hectic multi-tasking lifestyle of the busy European executive. The survey results show that 90% of iPad users claim to be doing something else 'at the same time' as using their tablet with 75% watching TV, 58% using another mobile device, 51% reading a newspaper or magazine, 49% in conversation with friends or family, and 45% preparing meals at home.

The iPad has also carved out a niche in the office. Six in ten of Europe's elite agree that the iPad is a useful business tool (increasing from four in ten in 2011). Furthermore, two thirds of owners (65%) claim to take it with them while travelling on business. Among users, accessing business/financial information is the top scoring feature used for the iPad (89%), followed by email and news updates (both 81%).

The variety of apps downloaded continues to increase across the board with business/finance news app downloads by far the most popular (86%), followed by newspaper/magazine apps (72%), news updates and weather (71%) and social media apps (58% increasing from 35% in 2011).

Mike Jeanes, Director of Research, EMEA at CNBC aid, "This year's study show interesting trends in the use of social media and the adoption of technology in the business world. There was a significant increase in the application of social media in business, with a high proportion claiming to have a social media strategy in place. The study has also revealed that the iPad, having started as a leisure tool, has now made its way firmly into the boardroom."

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