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May 15

Internet usage doubled since 2005, Ofcom says

Ofcom has released its annual summary of online activity, and revealed the average internet user now spends more than twice as much time online every week than those in 2005 did.  Nearly 90% of all adults in the UK are now using the internet, the regulator said. 

The Media Use and Attitudes 2015 report stated internet users over the age of 16 spend more than 20.5 hours per week on the internet, compared to just under 10 hours in 2005. The news comes as little surprise considering the birth of the smartphone, the tablet and various internet connected devices, such as smart TVs, which have hit the market in the intervening decade. 

Ofcom reckons the tablet has had a significant impact on how consumers access the internet and entertainment, such as gaming. According to the report, access to the internet via tablets has risen from 5% to 39% of adults in the UK; while 15% of adults now use tablets for gaming. The smartphone is now the primary device used for gaming, with more than a quarter of mobile users playing games every week, compared to 17% playing on games consoles. 22% of users now game online, up from 10% in 2005. 

The rise of the smartphone has led to a surge in instant messaging on mobile social media platforms, such as Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp; a well-documented concern for mobile operators amid declines in SMS traffic and revenue. 42% of all consumers are now using instant messaging on mobile, with 80% of the 25-34 year old demographic now conducting conversations over OTT platforms. 

What may be considered a relief for operators is that the percentage of mobile phone users sending text messages is up to 90%, although Ofcom didn’t specify whether the term “text message” referenced both SMS and instant messaging, or just the former.


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