A third of internet users now regard their smartphone as the device of choice, according to new research from Ofcom
There was a time not long ago when mobile phones were only ever seen in the hands of the super rich. Indeed, the ability to make a phone call while on the move was regarded as nothing short of revolutionary. However, technology has advanced at such a rate in the last 20 years that anyone not in possession of a smartphone is now said to be living in the past. And, as a sign of how ubiquitous they've become, new figures from Ofcom have revealed that more people in the UK are accessing the internet from their smartphone than from their laptop.
According to Ofcom's 2015 Communications Market Report, 33% of internet users regard their smartphone as the most important device for getting online, while only 30% rely on their laptop. This marks a significant shift from just last year when 22% of people favoured their phone, compared to 40% who preferred their laptop. The stats go on to reveal that two thirds of people are now in possession of a smartphone – up from 39% last year – and on average spend almost two hours a day browsing the net, scanning social media and enjoying a spot of shopping.
While the younger generation can still rightly be regarded as the smartphone generation – with 90% of 16-24 year olds now owning one – more of those at the other end of the age spectrum are getting in on the act. Ofcom's report shows that ownership among 55-64 year olds has more than doubled since 2012, up from 19% to 50%.
This swing in favour of smartphones has predictably been driven by the introduction of 4G mobile broadband, which provides faster internet access. During 2014, 4G subscriptions leapt from 2.7 million to 23.6 million, with many taking advantage of the faster speeds to catch the next episode of House of Cards on Netflix or do a bit of banking on the bus. According to the stats, 57% of 4G users watch TV and video clips online compared to 40% of non-4G users, while 55% of 4G users tend to bank online compared to 33% of people without 4G.
"Today’s report shows just how important reliable, fast internet access is to millions of consumers and businesses," said Sharon White, chief executive of Ofcom. "Improving the coverage and quality of all communications services across the UK is a priority for Ofcom, for people at work, home or on the move.”
Proof, if ever it was needed, that embracing mobile is a smart move for any digital business.