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 205.

    I have a netbook...

    With a "keyboard". So I can write sentences quickly with the use of most of my fingers.

    It runs Windows so the "apps" actually do have use and are not just part of some pathetic fad.

    I use emails that run through the internet that I already pay for, so I don't get screwed if I want to send a message.

    I use VOIP apps to speak to people worldwide. For free!

    You are mugs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    To quote Victor Meldrew 'I do not beleive it' - Your headline 'One in three of adults now use smart phone' can not be true. Approximately 30% of the population are retired and are unlikely to have a high SP usage - and another large % of the population do not own a mobile at all. So being generous - we are expected to believe of the remaining half of the adult population only 20% use non SP phones

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

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

    Do you have a link? This quote doesn't explain where the stats come from, e.g. sales? What did they count as a "smartphone"?

    "That's why you talk nonsense."

    Perhaps you should read, before making childish insults. You haven't countered my claim.

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    I'm amused that Picture Messaging is mentioned - until recently, the IPhones _couldn't_ do this, whilst it's obviously long been common on any other bog standard phones. Not to mention things like Video Calling.

    Why does the IPhone get counted as a "smartphone", when the "feature" phones get ignored from these stats?

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    179. Bob
    Comment number 179 is an Editors' Pick
    "I have an ordinary touch screen phone, don't need or want a smart phone."
    OK ... but doesn't the touch screen mean bob's phone IS a smart phone, even if he don't use most of its features?

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    i still don't see why people get off a tube train and then wander sloooooooowly like a zombie while they are checking texts/emails/wasteofspacebook.

    If it's important, find somewhere to stand and give it your full attention. Ironically, smart technology lets many make stupidly antisocial choices of how to use it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    195. _mdwh_
    "How were these stats collected? ... Another case of twisting things to make Apple look best..."
    Er, no. It's another case of you commenting before you know some facts.

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

    That's why you talk nonsense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    Did the Smartphone change your life,had been asked.Not mine,a Cellphone is certainly usefull&this is all i need,there is nothting so importend that it cant wait,or untill i get on the Computer,better than using that small Smartyphone&i bet for most people is nothing sooo imported that cant wait,but they just want to have it,to be IN&who lets their life be changed by SmPhone,I sayNothing to that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    Billy nomates in cyberland. needs a sat nav to get to the pub, orders food online and when they get there, talk to their so called mates on their phone. And to top it all off their partner is constantly on the phone, "who you with", "where you going", "don't stay out too late", "don't get too drunk" - next time your out dunk your phone in your beer you sad case.

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    I can't think of a use for one!

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    How were these stats collected? You can just look at sales, which again show Nokia leading (especially if one includes their S40 smartphone platform, which I bet wasn't counted as a "smartphone" platform). Another case of twisting things to make Apple look best...

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    It's a myth that you need a "smartphone" to do these things; most phones do apps, Internet, touchscreens/keyboards, GPS, wifi. Nokia are the number one leader, but picking on the illdefined "smartphones" category biases it towards Apple (although worldwide, even in just "smartphones", Nokia lead). It's unclear why the IPhone counts as a smartphone anyway, it can't even run Swype properly.

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    I look at folks walking through the centre of my town with their heads down, texting etc and think.....what a sad bunch.
    Get a life.
    The mobile phone has replaced the pack of cigerettes for the people who have a serious addiction problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    I use my smartphone all the time, but if I were to leave it at home, the only thing I'd miss are phone calls, text messages... and maybe the clock whenever I forget my watch!

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    We are all addicted to smartphones? umm..not in my experience. Most adults find a mobile phone handy and most teenagers are entirely led by the nose by any clever marketing which outlines an 'in-crowd'. Really, BBC, this article is shameless hyping and advertising.

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    What the hell is a smart phone an iphone or a3G or 4G phones.? MR.TRUCULENT cannot even get a cell phone reception where he lives.
    How can kids at school afford these gadgets and pay for them when money is tight. In the 1970s Kids had nothing like this .I Do not know how much pocket money these kid get now! As an adult now I still would not be able to fund the cost.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    @ 179. Bob
    This proper top end PC of yours - you wheel it around with you in an old supermarket trolley when you go out maybe? Not exactly as portable as a smartphone is it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    I have no need for a smart phone.

  • Comment number 187.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    "Sales of 3D capable televisions appeared to be relatively sluggish, with 125,000 sets sold in 2010." not surprised at all. I don't want to call it a gimmick, but the fact that you need to wear (expensive) glasses to enjoy the technology will always stop it being mainstream. 3D for the cinema is great as it makes the visit extra special.


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