Ofcom: More Brits Are Ditching PCs For Smartphones And Tablets

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British adults are using their mobile devices for more and more tasks, according to regulator Ofcom

The smartphone’s position as the most important device in the home has been reaffirmed by new Ofcom research, which shows Brits are increasingly using mobile devices to watch television and surf the Internet instead of televisions and desktop PCs.

The report, which examined attitudes to digital and traditional media, claims that the smartphone would be the device adults would miss the most if it was lost or stolen.

Tune in

touch screen smartphoneOverall, Ofcom found that one in six (16 percent) adults in the UK now only use smartphones or tablets to go online, a ten percent increase on 2015’s figure, showing that more and more people are ditching their computers altogether.

Nine in ten adults (90 percent) said that they use a mobile phone, with 70 percent owning a smartphone.

Smartphones are also replacing televisions are a medium to watching programs, as catch-up services such as BBC iPlayer allow consumers to watch content on the go.

Using social media, listening to music, watching short video clips, looking at news websites or apps, and browsing were found to be the most popular activities, with online shopping, watching catch-up television and completing online documents the only tasks that were preferable on a laptop or PC.

Ofcom says that these patterns is being seen across all age and socio-economic groups, as well as between men and women, but is particularly marked among young people.

The group says that the move away from PCs and laptops and towards smartphones and tablets has the potential to make an impact in a number of areas, including how companies target users with their content, and certain devices becoming more popular as they offer better usability.

Signed up

group on smartphone ©andersr/shutterstock.comBritish consumers are also increasingly only using apps and services they are comfortable with and have used repeatedly, the report found, with 42 percent of respondents now using the same apps as they knew previously.

However, this could lead consumers to miss out on valuable content, Ofcom says, and adds importance to “digital intermediaries” such as Facebook, Google, YouTube and Amazon, who now play a larger role in providing users with new information.

Overall, the report found that UK adults spend an average of 21.6 hours online each week, almost identical to the previous year.

Ofcom also discovered that take-up and use of the Internet saw wide differences depending on age, as almost two-thirds of over-75s, and a third of 65-74s say they do not use the internet at all, compared to 17 percent of 55-64s and less than five percent for under-55s.

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