Smartphone Use Drives ‘Landmark’ Internet Change In UK Says Ofcom


Smartphones are now easily the most popular device for getting online, according to a new report from Ofcom.

Over two-thirds of adults have a smartphone, a number that has increased by 27% from 2012.

For the first time in the UK, the smartphone has overtaken the laptop as the device internet users say is the most important for connecting to the internet.

In 2015, 33% chose their smartphone and 30% chose their laptop, compared with 23% and 40% respectively in 2014.

Furthermore, smartphones are now the most widely-owned internet-enabled device (66%), on a par with laptops (65% of households).

The vast majority (90%) of 16-24 year olds own one, but 55-64 year olds are also joining the smartphone revolution – with ownership in this age group more than doubling since 2012, from 19% to 50%.

And young people were also found to be ten times as likely as older people to say their mobile phone is the device they would miss the most.

Younger people said they would miss their mobile phone the most, with 59%, whereas older people said TV would be the biggest loss, with 57%.

This reliance on smartphones manifests itself throughout the day, with smartphone users checking their mobile phones just before they fall asleep, and just after they wake up.

Three in ten adults (29%) said they checked their phones within five minutes of waking up, increasing to about half of 18-24 year olds (48%).

The surge is being driven by the increasing take-up of 4G mobile broadband, providing faster online access.

During 2014, 4G subscriptions have leapt from 2.7m to 23.6m by the end of 2014.

Speaking about the report, Jane Rumble, director of market intelligence at Ofcom, said: “You can see these devices are becoming more and more an important vital hub of information and communication throughout the day, with smartphone owners spending almost two hours (on them) each day, almost double the amount of time that those people are spending on their laptop or desktop.

“Those aged 16 to 24 are much more likely, as well as 25 to 34, to say their smartphone is the most important device to get online, whereas for the older age groups, they are much more likely to be sticking with their laptop. This is a landmark shift.”

We now spend almost twice as long online with our smartphones than on laptops and personal computers.

On average, adult mobile users spent nearly two hours online each day using a smartphone in March 2015 (1 hour and 54 minutes), compared to just over an hour on laptops and PCs (1 hour and nine minutes).

But this is still only half of the 3 hours and 40 minutes we spend in front of the TV each day.

Read the full report here.

Simon Edmunds

Simon is the former editor of Global Dating Insights. Born in Newcastle, he has an English degree from Queen Mary, London and after working for the NHS, trained as a journalist with the Press Association. Passionate about music, journalism and Newcastle United.

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