LONDON: The rising uptake of smartphones is having a profound effect on media habits in the UK, a study by Ofcom, the communications regulator, has argued.

After partnering with Kantar Media to survey 2,073 people, Ofcom reported that 32% of mobile subscribers currently log on to the internet via a wireless handset, up from 26% a year earlier.

Some 27% of adults and 47% of teens owned a smartphone, with the most popular pastimes including using email on 46%, surfing the web on 46%, and social networking on 40%.

Over 55% of smartphone owners now participate in at least one other media activity, like watching TV or reading books, less often since they bought the device. This proportion rose to 68% of teenagers.

Elsewhere, 33% of contributors agreed their phone was more important for accessing the web than any alternative device, rising to 38% among teens.

A 51% majority of adults and 65% of teens use their smartphone while socialising, standing at 23% and 34% respectively during mealtimes.

"Technology is now driving our values," said James Thickett, Ofcom's director of research and market intelligence. "People are looking at smartphones as something that provides for their every technological need."

Indeed, 60% of teenagers admit they are "highly addicted" to using smartphones, coming in at 37% for adults, the study found.

Meanwhile, television viewing times have also surpassed four hours a day, up by 18 minutes during the last ten years, and 46% of UK households now contain a digital video recorder.

Nearly 10m televisions were sold in 2010, around 1m of which could connect to the internet, alongside 125,000 3D sets.

Looking to the web, internet users spent one hour 40 minutes a day utilising this medium, increasing to over two hours daily for 25-34 year olds.

At present, 95% of the online audience visit search engines, 94% send and receive email, 67% engage in ecommerce 62% access social networks, and 59% watch TV programmes and video or listen to music.

Data sourced from Ofcom; additional content by Warc staff