Third of adults 'use smartphone' says Ofcom report

Facebook on iPhone More smartphone time is spent on Facebook than any other service according to Ofcom

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Nearly one in three adults in the UK now uses a smartphone, according to a report by the telecoms regulator Ofcom.

Apple's iPhone was said to be the most popular brand. However, teenagers appeared to favour RIM's Blackberry devices.

The report notes that the increased uptake of smartphones has led to a dramatic rise in mobile internet use.

Facebook was the most visited website on handheld devices, with 43 million hours spent on it in December 2010.

Ofcom's annual Communications Market Report combines the regulator's own research with work carried out by other industry analysts.

The 341-page document provides a comprehensive snapshot of the UK's TV, radio, internet and telecommunications consumption.

On mobiles, it said that 58% of smartphone owners were male and 42% female.

Bar chart of smartphone use

Among those teenagers (12-15 year-olds) surveyed, the trend was reversed with girls accounting for 52% of smartphone use and boys making up the remaining 48%.

Although Apple's iPhone was a favourite device for 32% of adults, among teens its popularity was dwarfed by the Blackberry, which 37% of young people identified as their preferred brand.

Many of those taking part in Ofcom's survey confessed to being obsessed with their smartphone. 37% of adults and 60% of teenagers described themselves as "addicted".

Trending online

Ofcom's study also looked at how people use the internet via home fixed line connections.

Its analysis was based on a survey of 2,481 adults who have access to broadband.

Among those who took part, the most popular task was sending and receiving email (89%).

BBC Breakfast discusses why we are addicted to smartphones

More people turned to their computer to do online banking (61%) than used it to watch television (45%).

Online privacy was a concern for the minority of people surveyed, with worries appearing to grow as people got older.

Among 16 to 24-year-olds, 6% said they had concerns about their privacy on the internet. That figure rose to 13% of 55 to 64-year-olds.

Winners and losers

The report also examines the type of websites or online services that people are spending their time on, based on research carried out by UKOM/Neilsen.

The biggest growth area, between April 2010 and April 2011, was games, which increased by 23%.

News websites took a 33% dive on the previous year, as did adult sites whose use fell by 13%.

Away from the internet, there were also noteworthy changes around the use of broadcasting technology.

old radio set UK radio fared well, racking-up more than one billion listening hours per week

Time-shifted TV viewing, using digital video recorders, made up 14% of all viewing time in 2010, 1% lower than the previous year.

Sales of 3D capable televisions appeared to be relatively sluggish, with 125,000 sets sold in 2010, compared to 1 million internet-enabled TVs.

Radio fared well, according to Ofcom, as total listener hours hit 1.04bn per week, up 2.1% on 2009.

By the beginning of 2011, a quarter of radio listening was done on a digital platform, said the regulator.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    @ 183. milvuvestal
    Which people did you have in mind exactly? Those who like to use smart phones? Those who don't? Or maybe you meant people who make sad comments on here? Sorry to have to ask you, but even with a smart phone, most of us aren't telepathic yet. ;-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    I use my smartphone when I'm driving - but not for calls, I use it to video while I drive. After a stupid dispute over who was responsible for a bump at a roundabout I downloaded an app and now I capture everything that I can see through the windscreen in a rolling loop so it doesn't fill up the memory.

    I'll bet there's nothing a smartphone can't do!

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    What a sad lot some people have become.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    SmartPhones will not make you any smarter. SmartPhones will not solve world problems. SmartPhones will keep you connected to such important things as baseball scores, latest news from your friends - like where to meet - & keep you preoccupied with important trivia.
    Smart Phones being used in public will make you look delusional - like you're talking into the air.

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    Using a smartphone to compare prices when you unexpectedly find an item on sale at a shop is a great benefit, but otherwise these devices encourage impulsiveness, instant gratification, an umbilical connection to the 24 hour news cycle, and the narcissistic world of 'social networking'. It's the perfect device for creating a faster-paced world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    Smart phones aren't a problem but what they are being used for is, How much time is wasted evrey day playing with or showing off the latest totally pointless app?

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    I have an ordinary touch screen phone, don't need or want a smart phone. As long as it has Bluetooth for the car that's all I want. Why anyone would want to use such a small device for browsing or e-mail blows my mind, I even avoid my laptop it's so slow etc, I mainly use a proper top end PC so naturally find all these other devices rubbish.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    I love my smartphone but I wonder how many will love theirs next month. I'm waiting for the headlines as thousands of smartphone users return from foreign holidays to discover their smartphone has run up fortunes in data bills just by being on.
    For those en-route - ensure your "data roaming" is switched off.
    I did but turned it back on for less than 1 minute to check an email. Cost me £10.30!

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    "A smart phone is the most useful thing you can have in your pocket!"

    Not sure about that, a phone is useful, but it doesn't need to be 'smart'. Also a hanky, and my wallet (when not empty) do seem to have their uses as well.

    In fact, all round such a banal comment is not worthy is it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    Porn, innit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    66% of adults don't own a Smartphone. Not many teenagers have a Smartphone.

    There are lies, damned lies and statistics.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    This is what we need; more drivel to debate, rather than the really important stuff! Another great service from the BBC!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    I can do everything a smartphone does on other devices. So I do.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    Many people seem to think smartphones are creating an anti-social society....but there are actually many people who use smartphones to improve their social lives.

    If I want organise a get-together with a group of 10+ friends I can now set up an 'event' and invite a large group of people in minutes. If I had to call each person it would take much longer and cost more. Just one example of many.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    Unbelieveable. How much did this research cost? ...and the numpties forgot to ask how many people used their phone to make "phone calls". Bizarre!

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    The working should probably be clearer but its not too hard to understand.
    1/3 of adults in the UK uses a smartphone
    58% of adult smartphone users are male 42% female

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    I am an IT professional of 20+ years
    I have a £20 samsung phone, I'm not on the net at home and i'm not on Face Book, never been on twitter and never accessed U-tube.

    I'm expecting a bradburyesque investigation from the authorities at some point where I'm viewed as some kind of deviant but my response will be that i have this other thing going on at home - its called a life.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    Technology is improvement and moving forward. how we use that technology is what makes the difference.

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    The graph is wrong as it shows teen not using Instant messaging features on there phone. Thats all teenagers use it for!

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    So 2/3rds of people don't have smartphones? Woo-hoo! I'm in the majority for once!!!


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