Two-thirds of people in the United Kingdom now own a smartphone and use it for nearly two hours a day to browse the internet, access the web and shop online, according to Ofcom’s 2016 Communications Market Report.
According to the report, a third (33%) of internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online, compared to 30% who are still sticking with their laptop.
‘For the first time, smartphones have overtaken laptops as the UK’s most popular internet device and are now the hub of our daily lives — JAMES THICKETT
The rise in smartphone surfing marks a clear shift since 2014, when just 22% turned to their phone first, and 40% preferred their laptop.
Smartphones have become the hub of our daily lives and are now in the pockets of two-thirds (66%) of UK adults, up from 39% in 2012. 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%.
Surge in E-commerce on 4G Smartphones
The surge is being driven by the increasing take-up of 4G mobile broadband, providing faster online access. During 2014, 4G subscriptions leapt from 2.7 million to 23.6 million by the end of 2014.
Ofcom’s director of research, James Thicket said:
4G has supercharged our smartphones, helping people do everything from the weekly shop to catching up with friends with a face-to-face video call. For the first time, smartphones have overtaken laptops as the UK’s most popular internet device and are now the hub of our daily lives.
On average, mobile users spent nearly two hours online each day using a smartphone in March 2015 (one hour and 54 minutes), compared to just over an hour spent online by laptop and % users (one hour and nine minutes).
But this is still only half of the three hours and 40 minutes we spend in front of the TV each day.
The report also reveals that smartphone users with 4G are shopping online more than those without 4G (55% of 4G users do this compared with 35% of non-4G users); banking more online (55% versus 33%); watching more TV and video clips online (57% versus 40%); making more face-to-face and voice calls over the internet (28% versus 20%); sending more photos and videos via text (49% versus 36%), and instant messaging more with services such as WhatsApp (63% versus 50%).
Smartphones now take more photos than any other device, including digital cameras, with 60% of adults saying they use it most to take a snap, rising to almost nine-in-10 (89%) of 16-24-year-olds. Just over one-in-five adults (22%) mostly use their digital camera.
People in the UK took an estimated 1.2 billion ‘selfies’ in the past year. Nearly a third (31%) of UK adults admit to taking a selfie, with one-in-10 (11%) doing so at least once a week.
Ofcom CEO Sharon White said:
Today’s report shows just how important reliable, fast internet access is to millions of consumers and businesses. Improving the coverage and quality of all communications services across the UK is a priority for Ofcom, for people at work, home or on the move.