Social networking 'accounts for 25% of time spent online' header image

Published: 18th Apr 2013

Britons spend a quarter of their time online using social networking websites, a new study has revealed.

Research from global information services company Experian found that 13 minutes out of every hour on the internet is spent on social media or forums.

Nine minutes is devoted to entertainment sites and six minutes to online shopping.

Reading and sending emails is responsible for just two minutes, as is business and finance. News and media usage is slightly higher, accounting for three minutes.

Social networking is slightly more popular in the US and Australia, making up 16 and 14 minutes of each hour respectively.

The survey discovered that the UK has the most prolific online shoppers, with Britons devoting a greater proportion of their time to ecommerce than people in the US and Australia.

UK internet users spent ten per cent of their total online time shopping in 2012, compared to nine per cent in the US and six per cent in Australia.

This was partly due to the Christmas season, when roughly 370 million hours were used to buy goods and services on the web, which is 24 per cent higher than the monthly average.

Britain is slightly behind Australia in terms of consuming news content on the internet. Australians spent six per cent of online time on a news website last year, compared to five per cent in the UK and four per cent in the US.

Over the last 12 months, the time used on social networking proportionate to other online activities actually declined across all three nations.

In the UK it dropped from 25 per cent in 2011 to 22 per cent last year and similar falls occurred in the US and Australia.

The Experian survey did not take into account traffic from 3G and 4G networks and it believes this drop is a result of more people accessing social media via this type of connection.

James Murray, digital marketing manager at Experian, commented: "Consumers are changing the way they interact online and the rise of 3G and now 4G mobile internet access means more visits are being made on the move, particularly in social and email."