Web usage doubles in a decade thanks to tablets and smartphones

Research shows UK users are spending twice as much time online as they did ten years ago.

People are spending twice as much time online compared to 10 years ago thanks to increased use of tablets and smartphones.

Last year the average internet user spent more than three and a half hours longer online every week than they did in 2013: 20 hours and 30 minutes in 2014 compared to 16 hours and 54 minutes in 2013 - about three hours a day.

The biggest increase came from the youth market, 16 to 24 year olds, whose use of the internet came close to tripling in the 10 years prior to 2014 from 10 hours and 24 minutes in 2005 to 27 hours and 36 minutes: just under four hours a day.

These were just some of the statistics drawn from Ofcom's Media Use and Attributes Report for 2015 which is now in its 10th year.

Ofcom points out that the amount of time people are online while 'out and about' - away from home, work or their place of study - "has increased five-fold over the past ten years, from 30 minutes in 2005 to nearly two and a half hours (2 hours and 18 minutes) in 2014". Much of that increase has come about since the launch of the Apple iPad five years ago, the regulator notes.

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Graphic: Ofcom

More people are watching TV and video on the internet with over a quarter (27 percent) of internet users regularly watching TV or films online, compared to one in ten in 2007. This rises to 39 percent of 16-24 year olds which is up from 21 percent in 2007.

The mobile phone is now the primary device used for gaming with over a quarter (26 percent) of mobile users playing games at least once a week, compared to 17 percent playing on games consoles.

Instant messaging on a mobile phone has almost doubled in a year jumping from 29 percent of mobile phone users in 2013 to 42 percent in 2014. Instant messaging across all devices has seen the biggest growth among 25-34 year olds - 80 percent IM at least once a week - up from 38 percent in 2005.

Nearly all mobile phone users are sending text messages, thanks to another big jump from 70 percent in 2005 to 90 percent in 2014. And email has seen an especially large increase from just 5 percent of the population in 2005 to 52 percent last year.

But, as ever, the one piece of technology that the most people are unwilling to relinquish is the gogglebox - when asked which device they would miss the most, 37 percent of adults said they would miss their TV more than any other device.

Further Reading:

Spark piles heat on regulator over copper monopoly rent

Qualcomm facing penalty from South Korean antitrust regulator

Internet of Things: Governments start to take a closer look

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