Smartphones have very quickly become the most popular device for getting online in the UK for most users. A recent research study conducted by Ofcom found that nearly 2 thirds of people in the UK now own a smartphone. These smartphone owners spend nearly 2 hours a day browsing the internet, accessing social media sites, banking and shopping online on their smartphone.
The Communications Market Report that Ofcom published on 6 August 2015, found that up to 33% of internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online. This is compared to 30% who still prefer their laptops.
The number of people who prefer to use their Smartphone to go online as opposed to their laptops rose from 22% in 2014. That same year, the number of people who still saw their laptop as the go-to device when browsing the internet was at 40, indicating a significant drop in people using laptops.
The number of people with access to a Smartphone has also significantly increased, further fuelling the mobile online browsing, shopping and social media access trends that the UK is currently experiencing. Now up to 66% of UK adults have access to or own a smartphone. This is a significant rise from just 39% in 2012.
90% of these smartphone owners are between the ages of 16 and 24 although the older generation those between the ages of 55 and 65 are also joining the smartphone bandwagon. This growth in mobile online uptake can be attributed to the availability and increasing take-up of 4G mobile broadband that has provided faster online access for Smartphone users. The end of 2014 saw more than 23.6 million subscriptions, a 2.7 million increase from the previous years.
The amount of time that Smartphone users spend online has also greatly increased in the last year. UK residents spend twice as long browsing the internet on their smartphone than on their desktops and laptops. On average smartphone users spend 2 hours online on their device each day as compared to just over an hour that they would spend on a laptop or desktop.
4G users shopping Online More
The report also indicated that smartphone users subscribed to the 4G network were more likely to shop online than those who weren’t on 4G. 55% of smartphone users on the 4G network shop online using their devices as compared to 35% non-4G users. 4G users were also more likely to do their banking online, watch more TV and video clips online and make face to face calls on their device over the internet.
As mobile operators such as Vodafone continue to upgrade their 4G networks, this increase in mobile internet browsing is expected to rise. Mobile phones have become a permanent fixture in the lives of many UK residents and it is predicted that this trend will only grow.
More people are now using their smartphones to browse the internet, shop online and update their social media. The Smartphone culture has so infiltrated the loves of UK residents that nearly a third of adults reach for their phone within the first five minutes of waking up. It is therefore not surprising that up to 42% of smartphone users think it’s not wrong to check their phone at the dinner table.
Smartphone changing how we watch TV
It is also not very surprising that smartphone usage has altered the way we watch TV. Most 16- 24 year olds prefer to watch their favourite TV shows on their smartphones as opposed to on a TV. This means that despite the fact that TV viewership has not gone down in recent years with over 90% of people still watching TV every week, the time we spend in front of the TV has greatly reduced. On average UK residents spent 3 hours and 40 minutes a day watching TV in 2014, 11 minutes less than they did the previous year.
This trend has created a whole new advertising demographic. As much as TV is and remains a viable advertising medium, most advertisers will now shift their focus to smartphone users who are increasingly relying on their devices every day. If more people browse the web, watch TV, connect with friends on social media and even shop using their smartphone, it makes business sense to effectively advertise to this group.