Smartphones are top internet device header image

Published: 14th Aug 2015

New research from Ofcom has shown that more people in the UK are now using their smartphones to get online than laptops.

A total of 62 per cent of adults said they owned a smartphone, compared to 39 per cent in 2012. Overall, 33 per cent of those surveyed said they were most likely to choose their smartphones to use the internet - overtaking the 30 per cent who preferred laptops for the first time.

Smartphones were not the only mobile devices to grow in popularity, and 19 per cent said they mainly accessed the internet on their tablets, up four percentage points since the previous year.

Most of us have our mobile phones near us at all times, and it seems to be this easy access that encourages people to spend more time on the internet. On an average day, a laptop user spent one hour and nine minutes online, but for smartphones, this almost doubled to one hour and 54 minutes.


Increased availability of 4G internet seems to have played a major role in this change in internet habits, as it can allow people to watch videos and do other data-intensive activities while on the move. People with 4G contracts have increased from 2.7 million at the close of 2013 to 23.6 million at the end of the following year. Those who could access 4G watched 57 per cent of their videos on their smartphone, compared to 40 per cent of those who did not.

They are also an increasing part of our lives at all hours of the day. Nearly half (49 per cent) of 18 to 24 year olds said they used their smartphones in the first five minutes they were awake. While this was slightly lower for the adults as a whole, it was still a substantial 34 per cent.
While wired superfast internet connections had risen over the past year, at 83 per cent, they are still some way short of the government’s target of 95 per cent of properties by the end of 2017.