LONDON: Internet use among the youngest age groups in the UK is almost universal according to a new report which also found a marked growth in take-up and use by older people during the past year.

As part of the Adults' Media Use and Attitudes Report, from UK regulator Ofcom, 1,642 adults over the age of 16 were surveyed towards the end of 2013. Overall, 83% of respondents were going online, up from 79% a year earlier.

Ofcom noted, however, how internet use varied considerably by age. Among Generations Y and Z (16 to 34 year olds) there was near total penetration, as 98% went online.

The next two age groups were close behind with 92% of 35 to 44 years olds and 91% of 45 to 54 year olds online. Among the latter group there had been a seven point rise on 2012.

The most significant change had come in the oldest age group, where 42% of the over 65s were going online in 2013, compared to 33% in 2012.

And the hard core of non-users was slowly eroding. In 2012, 15% had said they did not have internet access at home and were not going to change that; but in 2013 that figure had dropped to 12%.

Older consumers were also increasingly likely to go online using mobile devices, the report said. The use of tablets by 65 to 74 year olds had trebled in one year from 5% to 17%. Overall, tablet usage had almost doubled from 16% in 2012 to 30% in 2013.

Smartphone use, too, was increasing albeit at a slower rate, from 12% to 20% among 65 to 74 year olds and from 54% to 62% across all age ranges.

Ofcom further observed that the increases in take-up of mobile devices mirrored an increase in the range of mobile activities that people were undertaking.

Sending or receiving emails (55%) and visiting social networking sites or apps (53%) were the most popular activities, followed by sending and receiving video clips (48%) and instant messaging (38%).

One third of mobile users also said they bought things via phone (33% vs. 23% in 2012) or used their phone to check their bank balance (34% vs. 25% in 2012).

Data sourced from Ofcom; additional content by Warc staff