LONDON: British adults now spend an average of one day a week online, or about double the amount of time they did in 2007, a new official study has revealed.

According to Ofcom, the UK media regulator, nearly all adults aged 16 to 54 use the internet with little difference across the generations – for example, 98% of 16-24s go online compared with 96% of 45-54s.

In addition, seven in ten people now use a smartphone to go online, compared with two-thirds (66%) in 2016, which has increased the amount of time spent online while on the move from 2.1 hours a week in 2016 to 2.5 hours in 2017.

These are just some of the key findings in Ofcom’s annual Media Use and Attitudes Report, which draws on three main surveys covering a total of more than 5,700 respondents.

The 216-page report also revealed that the proportion of people who use their smartphone as a flight boarding pass or entry ticket has jumped from 41% in 2016 to 57% in 2017.

Meanwhile, the popularity of Facebook appears to have declined since 2016, with the number of social media users who consider it their main social media profile falling from 80% to 70%.

At the same time, the proportion of people who regard WhatsApp as their main social media profile has increased from 7% in 2016 to 16%, while the number of people opting for Snapchat has doubled from 2% to 4%.

Digging into some of the comprehensive findings about advertising, Ofcom reported that around a quarter of internet users (23%) now say they don’t mind seeing any online ads – down from a third (32%) in 2016.

More than a third (35%) don’t mind seeing ads as long as they are relevant to them, but as many as 40% say they dislike all online adverts, compared to 34% a year ago.

Dislike of online ads also appears to grow with age, with just a third (34%) of users aged 16-24 saying they don’t mind seeing online ads compared with half of 55-64s and 54% of those aged 65 to 74.

Elsewhere, one-third (32%) say they opt out of marketing communications, while a similar proportion (31%) say they use ad-blocking filters or software.

Interestingly, one in ten (9%) say they deliberately provide false information, when required, to avoid spam, and only visit ad-free sites (9%).

More than half (58%) of internet users are aware of personalised advertising. And the great majority (85%) of internet users say they are either very (42%) or fairly (43%) confident that they know what is and is not advertising online, with men more likely than women to say they are very confident (46% versus 37%).

A minority (41%) of internet users say they are not happy for companies to collect and use their personal information.

Although about a third of internet users (35%) say they are happy for companies to collect and use their personal information if they can opt at any point, if the company is clear about how it will use their personal information (33%), or if they are reassured that their information will not be shared with other companies (32%).

Sourced from Ofcom; additional content by WARC staff