Smartphones overtake laptops as UK’s internet addiction grows – Wired.co.uk
Smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for accessing the internet in the UK, according to regulator Ofcom. The amount of time UK adults spend online has also doubled in the past decade to more than 20 hours per week.
According to Ofcom 33 percent of Britons now see their smartphone as their most important internet device and use it for an average of two hours a day to browse websites, use social media, bank and shop online.
Laptops were the preferred device for 30 percent of Britons, with tablets on 19 percent (up 4 percent since 2014) and desktop computers on 14 percent (down 6 percent).
The figures show a big swing since 2014, when 22 percent turned to their phone first and 40 percent plumped for their laptop. Britons now spend almost twice as long online on smartphones (1 hour 54 minutes) than on laptops and desktop computers.
Two thirds (66 percent) of adults now own a smartphone, up from 39 percent in 2012. Ownership is highest amongst 16-24 year olds (90 percent) with ownership amongst 55 to 64 years olds doubling since 2012 to 50 percent.
Ofcom’s figures come from its 2015 Communications Market Report, with data collected earlier this year.
The rapid rise in mobile browsing came alongside a similar surge in 4G uptake. In 2014 4G subscriptions stood at 2.7m, by the end of 2014 that figure was 23.6m. People with 4G also spend more time online than those on slower connections.
Total time online has doubled in the past decade. UK adults spent nearly 10 hours online in 2005 — that figure now stands at 20 hours and 30 minutes. Despite the increase, just 3 percent said they preferred social media for staying in touch as opposed to seeing people offline.
The study also revealed that 1.2bn selfies were taken in the UK in 2014, with 31 percent of adults admitting to taking a picture of themselves in the past year. One in ten (11 percent) admitted to taking a selfie at least once a week.
Ofcom also asked people about smart watch ownership for the first time. Currently, 3 percent of households claim to own a smartwatch, although Ofcom’s research was carried out before the Apple Watch went on sale in April 2015.