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Opening up opportunities in the UK

Today alone, you may have used Search at home to check the weather; your kids may have used YouTube to help learn something new at school; and you may have used Google Ads to seek out new customers at work.

Millions of people across the UK choose to use Google tools every day, but traditional economic measures do not take their value into account since many of these products are free. We wanted to explore the real value people unlock by using Google tools. Research firm Public First investigated how Google helps people work more productively, learn more, and have more fun across the UK. Here are a few of their key findings:

  • At home. Families have fun with our products and use them to free up time. Every year, two thirds of adults use YouTube to figure out how to do DIY projects, and 60 percent use it to help them cook. People value online search so much that the average household would rather give up an hour of sleep each night than give up access to online search.
  • At school. Parents and teachers alike use our products to support learning as part of the British education system. Parents of more than half of the school kids in the country said they use Google and YouTube to help their kids with their homework. 
  • At work. Google services help enable the growth of startups and scaleups via Google for Startups Campus London. They also help a new generation of small businesses, like independent app developers and YouTube creators, reach new global audiences and be more productive. Public First found that 88 percent of British adults use a search engine at least once a day to help get things done, which creates a time saving equivalent to an extra bank holiday every year. 

The report uses a variety of methods to quantify the value of Google services to families throughout the UK. This includes looking at the value of time saved by using Google products and also what these free services are worth to those who use them. For consumers, the analysis shows that Google services provide at least £37 billion in consumer surplus.

Public First also calculated the business economic activity supported by Google services like Google Ads, Adsense, and Android. By combining third party estimates of the UK’s share of the revenue of these services with other work looking at the average Return on Investments they enable, the report estimates that Google’s services are conservatively supporting at least £55 billion in economic activity. And the combined value of all free internet services could boost GDP by 0.75 percentage points annually--or the equivalent of adding an industry the size of pharmaceuticals or agriculture every year.

Regardless of age, education, income or location, our products aim to benefit everyone. To make sure that everyone has access to these opportunities, all sorts of people, with various personal and professional ambitions, are attending Google Digital Garage sessions throughout the UK to up-skill in digital literacy. No matter what people want to do today or where they want to go next, Google is committed to helping open up possibilities for them.

We are proud of the findings in this report and invite you to read them in full here.

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