Mobile speeds Britons' online shift

27 March 2014
LONDON: Britons are spending 27% more time online now than they did two years ago and have doubled the proportion of time on social networking and emailing, thanks in part to the uptake of smartphones and tablets according to new figures.

The latest IPA TouchPoints5 data, based on a questionnaire of 5,100 adults and an e-diary that collected data every half hour for a week on how they were spending their time, their opinions and the role of media in their lives, concluded that smartphones and tablets are changing the way people in the UK live.

The survey showed that almost half of consumers (48%) now owned a smartphone while over a quarter (27%) owned a tablet and more than a third (38%) either owned one or had the use of one within their homes.

Consequently, the average two hours 27 minutes spent online daily was increasingly moving away from the traditional desktop/laptop. Over the course of a week these now accounted for 54% of the total time spent online while mobile devices took 42% (smartphone 31%, tablet 11%). Smart TVs (2%) and games consoles (1%) made up the rest.

And all the activities people carried out online were increasing. Emailing remained the top activity, with 80% of adults doing so each week, but browsing for products and services was close behind, as more than 70% used the internet for this purpose.

A further 54% accessed a social networking site each week, up from 44% in 2012, and twice as many 15-24 years olds used a smartphone to do so (67%) as compared to the average (34%). A similar if less pronounced pattern was evident in the use of tablets (23% vs 15%).

Among the other media-related activities consumers undertook on their mobile devices were listening to the radio (13%), reading newspapers (10%) and watching TV (9%).

The IPA also highlighted the use of mobile devices for non-media consumption, with many people (30%) employing their smartphone's GPS capabilities to find particular places. Further, 22% were using their smartphone to look for local deals, offers and vouchers.

Other possible uses were much less widespread: just 8% scanned QR codes and 6% had NFC on their phones.

Data sourced from IPA; additional content by Warc staff
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