LONDON: A majority of UK internet users accessed this medium from a mobile phone during the last three months, new figures show.

According to the ONS, the government's official statistics body, 45% of the online audience have logged on to the net via a mobile phone in 2011, rising to 51% in the last three months.

When looking specifically at the latter period, totals reached 71% among 16-24 year olds, increasing from 44% year on year.

Elsewhere, 65% of 25-34 year olds now engage in this pastime, up by 28 points on an annual basis, with current scores coming in at 49% among 35-44 year olds, a 17-point lift measured against 2010.

Uptake has also hit 33% for 45-54 year olds, 21% for 55-64 year olds, and a relatively modest 8% for over 65 year olds, with growth levels slowing by age profile.

Splitting out the data by gender, the ONS reported 51% of men have accessed the mobile web during 2011 to date, compared with 39% of women, with both amounts improving by 14 percentage points annually.

The study also found 4.9m people, or 13% of the internet population, had connected to wireless hotspots in public places like airports, hotels and restaurants, almost double the 7% posted in 2010.

More broadly, the ONS revealed 77% of web users employ this channel to find information about goods and services, and 57% are members of social networks like Facebook or Twitter.

Another 55% utilise online banking tools and 55% read or download or read news, newspapers or magazines.

In terms of specific skills, 89% regularly use search engines, 40% leave messages in chatrooms, 40% download films and music, 29% do the same for ebooks, and 33% upload material to websites.

Turning to ecommerce, 68% of the online community had acquired items from the web, including 46% snapping up clothes and sporting products and 38% purchasing household goods.

Figures fell to 21% for groceries, where younger demographics again proved most keen, as ratings climbed to 32% for 25-34 year olds and 28% for 35-44 year olds.

Data sourced from ONS; additional content by Warc staff