London, Aug 6 (IANS) Now an essential part of our daily lives, smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online, new British research has revealed.
According to a report by Ofcom, an independent regulator and competition authority for the British communications industries, two thirds of Britons now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online.
On average, adult mobile users spent nearly two hours online each day using a smartphone for an average of an hour and 54 minutes, compared to an hour and nine minutes on laptops and PCs.
“The results show just how important reliable, fast internet access is to millions of consumers and businesses,” Sharon White, Ofcom’s chief executive, said in a statement.
The Ofcom’s “2015 Communications Market Report” found that a third (33 percent) of internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online, compared to 30 percent who are still sticking with their laptop.
The rise in smartphone surfing marks a clear shift since 2014, when just 22 percent turned to their phone first, and 40 percent preferred their laptop.
Smartphones are now in the pockets of two thirds (66 percent) of British adults, up from 39 percent in 2012.
The vast majority (90 percent) of 16-24 year olds own smartphones but 55-64 year-olds are also joining the smartphone revolution.
The smartphone ownership in this age group has more than doubled since 2012 – from 19 percent to 50 percent, the report revealed.
The surge is being driven by the increasing take-up of 4G mobile broadband, providing faster online access. During 2014, 4G subscriptions leapt from 2.7 million to 23.6 million.
“4G has supercharged our smartphones, helping people do everything from the weekly shop to catching up with friends with a face-to-face video call,” added James Thickett, Ofcom’s director of research.
Smartphones now take more photos than any other device, including digital cameras, with 60 percent of adults saying they use it most to take a snap, rising to almost nine in 10 (89 percent) of 16-24 year olds.
Just over one in five adults (22 percent) mostly use their digital camera.
One in three adults turn over and check their phones within five minutes of waking up.
“For young people, checking social media messages before breakfast is even more crucial,” the report noted.