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Over 18 million people in the UK have now used Generative AI

31 May 2024

  • Over a third of people in the UK (36%) have now used Generative AI* (GenAI), equivalent to 18 million people aged between 16-75;
  • Seven million people have used GenAI for work, up 66% from four million a year ago;
  • Of those using GenAI, one in 10 (10%) use it daily, one in four (26%) weekly, and two in five (41%) use it less than monthly;
  • Three quarters (74%) of people who have used GenAI for work claim it boosts their productivity; with one in four (27%) reporting that their employer actively encourages the use of GenAI.

Over 18 million people in the UK have now used Generative AI (GenAI), according to new findings from Deloitte’s 2024 Digital Consumer Trends research, based on a survey of 4,150 UK adults aged 16-75.

In the UK, three in five (60%) people are now aware of GenAI and over a third (36%) have used a GenAI tool, an increase of 26% (13 million people) from May 2023. However, notable gender and age gaps were apparent in the findings with 43% of men having used GenAI, compared to just 28% of women. The technology is also primarily used by younger groups, with 62% of people aged 16-34 having actively used it, compared to only 14% of 55-75 year olds.

GenAI in the workplace

One in seven people (14%) have
used GenAI for work, equating to around seven million people, increasing from four million a year ago. Of those using GenAI for work, three in four (74%) claim a productivity boost of either ‘a fair amount’ or ‘a great deal’. However, just 27% of those in work claim that their employer encourages the use of GenAI, suggesting that the majority work may be doing so without their employer’s official endorsement.

Among those who have used GenAI for work, the most popular reasons are generating ideas (44%) and looking up information (41%), followed by creating written content (39%), writing/editing emails (38%), and summarising text (37%).

Paul Lee, partner and head of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte, commented: “Employees are moving faster than their employers when it comes to adopting GenAI to transform how they work. While workers are signalling that GenAI can boost their output and save them time, many employees may not be supported, encouraged, or explicitly endorsed to use the technology by their organisation.

“While the most popular uses tend to be generating ideas and looking up information, these may not be optimal applications of GenAI, given known issues such as hallucination. Employers need to step up and invest in tools and governance to better support their staff in using this technology. Additionally, usage has to thrive among all types of employees, not just certain demographics, if the tools are to be most effective.”

Improving AI fluency is vital for businesses

The survey also demonstrates that the frequency of use of GenAI is variable. Amongst those using the technology, one in three (36%) do so either daily or weekly, whereas two in five (41%) use it less than monthly. Of these low-frequency users, 23% did not find it helpful, 19% were not satisfied with its answers and 18% claimed they did not know how to use it well.

Meanwhile, many of those aware of GenAI are not familiar with its risks, including potential inaccuracies and biases. Among those aware of GenAI, 25% believe it is always factually accurate, and 26% think it is unbiased. Those who have used GenAI are even more likely to be unaware of risks, as 36% of users believe it is always accurate, and 36% think it is unbiased.

However, among those aware of GenAI, more than half (59%) would be less inclined to trust an email if they knew it was created with GenAI. Similarly, 56% would be less inclined to use a customer service if they knew they were conversing with a GenAI assistant.

Costi Perricos, partner and global Generative AI lead at Deloitte, said: “Whether organisations have supportive or strict policies on the use of Generative AI, it is clear that improving business AI fluency is vital. GenAI deployment should be accompanied by a thorough learning and development programme, including training on ethics and responsible use, and guidance on how to get the most value from GenAI tools. HR leaders have a key role to play, creating a clear framework in which their workforce can operate.”

Lee concluded: “In 2024, companies ought to be asking what they should do with GenAI, rather than focusing purely on everything it could do. The C-suite is increasingly looking for proof of return on investment in technologies before funding large scale deployment across their workforce. However, there are barriers to this, as quantifying employee productivity can be difficult, particularly in knowledge-based roles.

“Businesses are also exploring customer facing GenAI tools but should be aware that they may face some initial hesitance as fluency improves. Customers may be more welcoming of GenAI if they can be convinced that it enables a better, faster experience, with higher quality answers. Business leaders must fund and drive this education.”


Notes to editors

About the researchDeloitte’s Digital Consumer Trends is a global survey measuring public perception of digital products and services. Spanning 15 years, our research in this field has tracked the history of smart devices such as phones, tablets and virtual reality headsets, as well as applications, like social media, video streaming, and artificial intelligence.

The 2024 UK edition of Digital Consumer Trends is based on a nationally representative survey of 4,150 UK adults aged 16 to 75 conducted in April 2024. It is part of a global study involving multiple countries.

The calculation of 18 million Generative AI users, and seven million who have used it at work, is based on UK Population Data from the Office of National Statistics, Mid-2022 data, which states a population between 16-75 years of 49,782,790.

*Generative AI or GenAI refers to – Generative Artificial Intelligence