The latest Ofcom Communications Market Report focuses on smartphone usage and how technology has revolutionised our lives over the past ten years.
The study shows 78% of people in the UK now own a smartphone, rising to 95% among 16-24 year-olds. This has increased from just 17% a decade ago.
The smartphone dominates many people’s lives in both positive and negative ways, with people saying they check their phones, on average, every 12 minutes. Two in five adults (40%) look at their phone within five minutes of waking up, whilst 37% of adults check their phones five minutes before lights out.
The smartphone is the device people say they would miss the most.
Most people now say they expect and need, a constant internet connection. Two-thirds of adults (64%) say the internet is an essential part of their lives. One in five adults (19%) say they spend more than 40 hours a week online.
Improved access to the internet has transformed how we interact with each other. Two-fifths of people (41%) say being online enables more flexible working, whilst three-quarters (74%) say it keeps them close to friends and family.
Using a web browser is now more important than making calls from a mobile, with more people using internet-based apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
The negative effects of being constantly online.
Fifteen percent of people admit that being constantly connected makes them feel they are always at work, with more than half (54%) admitting that it interrupts face-to-face conversations with friends and family. More than two in five (43%) also feel they spend too much time online.
Whilst a third of people say they feel either cut off (34%) or lost (29%) without the internet if they can’t get online, and 17% say they find it stressful, some see a lack of internet access in a positive light. One in ten people feel more productive offline, and 16% say they feel less distracted.
The proportion of people accessing the internet on their mobile has increased from 20% almost a decade ago, to 72% in 2018. The average amount of time spent online on a smartphone is 2 hours 28 minutes a day. This rises to 3 hours 14 minutes among 18-24s.
Ian Macrae, Ofcom’s Director of Market Intelligence, said: “Over the last decade, people’s lives have been transformed by the rise of the smartphone, together with better access to the internet and new services.
“Whether it’s working flexibly, keeping up with current affairs or shopping online, we can do more on the move than ever before. But while people appreciate their smartphone as their constant companion, some are finding themselves feeling overloaded when online, or frustrated when they’re not.”
Many commuters now find it essential to be online during their journey, so they can complete tasks in their personal (42%) or professional life (35%). Young adults are more likely to multi-task on their commute: 9% of 18-34s carry out eleven or more online activities, compared to just 1% of over-35s.
It seems we have a love-hate relationship with our smartphone. We value being able to get online anywhere, anytime and it helps increase work productivity. At the same time, we feel the pressure of being constantly accessible.
Business Communications from Office Phone Shop
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