SMARTPHONES HAVE OVERTAKEN LAPTOPS as Brits’ most popular means of getting online, Ofcom has revealed, fuelled by the need to take photos of their own faces.
Ofcom has released the latest Communications Market Report, which shows that smartphones are now UK adults’ preferred devices for connecting online, overtaking laptops for the first time.
The report said that 33 percent of internet users listed a smartphone as their most popular device for getting online, compared with 30 percent who said a laptop. This is a major shift compared with last year, when 23 percent listed smartphone and 40 percent laptop.
Some 93 per cent of UK adults had a mobile phone in the first quarter of 2015, 71 percent of whom said they had a smartphone, an increase of 27 percent on 2012.
Jane Rumble, director of market intelligence at Ofcom, said: “We’ve reached a landmark moment where the smartphone has become the most important way for people to get online. Just last year laptops were in first place.”
This shift has led users to become “hooked” on their mobile phone, Ofcom said. Around 48 percent of those surveyed scored themselves at seven or above when asked to describe how hooked they are on their mobile phone on a scale of one to 10.
This has led to Brits spending more time online. Smartphone users spend nearly two hours (114 minutes) every day using the internet on their mobile phone, nearly twice as much time as the average adult spends going online via a PC or laptop (69 minutes).
This is unlikely to be as much time as they spend taking photos of their own face, however, as Ofcom revealed that 1.2 billion selfies were taken in the UK in the past year alone.
“Potentially this use of smartphones is fuelling the selfie phenomenon: 31 percent of adults admit to taking a selfie, and just over one in 10 said that they take a selfie at least once a week,” said Rumble.
Ofcom’s report also highlights the growing prominence of 4G. Around 30 percent of Brits said that they now have access to the technology, equating to 45 percent of UK smartphone users, an increase of 28 percentage points since 2014.
The study found that 4G users did more banking, instant messaging and video clip watching on their phones than those without, although there’s no word as to whether they also took more photos of their faces.
Wearables did not feature highly in Ofcom’s report, despite the recent launches of high-profile smartwatches such as the Apple Watch and Pebble.
“Less than five percent of UK adults own a smartwatch but, given the rapid increase in 4G take-up, I think that is likely to [rise],” said Rumble. µ