View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter - data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. Technology
August 7, 2014

Britons are using mobiles more than they are sleeping

Ofcom study finds 4G speeds keeping consumers awake.

By Ben Sullivan

British people now spend more of their day glued to tablets and smartphones than they do sleeping, according to Ofcom.

A new study carried out by the British media regulator found that UK adults spend an average of 8 hours 41 minutes a day using ‘media or communications’, compared to just 8 hours 21 minutes sleeping.

The average time spent fixated by devices has increased by two hours since the last time similar research was conducted in 2010.

Since then, 4G and superfast broadband speeds have changed the way consumers use devices, seeing them replace TVs and laptops with smartphones and tablets.

James Thickett, Ofcom Director of Research, said: "While gadgets can prove a distraction, technology is actually improving work-life balance for some.

"Six in ten of us do some form of working outside of normal hours, but the trade-off is that we’re making personal calls and doing our life-admin at work."

Among the adult population, it’s the 16-24s who spend the most time on media and communications. They’re cramming over 14 hours of media and communications activity into 9 hours 8 minutes each day by multi-tasking, using different media and devices at the same time.

Content from our partners
Rethinking cloud: challenging assumptions, learning lessons
DTX Manchester welcomes leading tech talent from across the region and beyond
The hidden complexities of deploying AI in your business

Where computer use was traditionally dependent on desktop computers, tablet and smartphone devices are starting to dominate how we work and play. 44% of households now have a tablet – up from 24% a year ago.

Their ease of use and portability appeal to people across generations. More than a quarter of those over 55 now own a tablet and many use it as their main computing device.

Smartphone take-up has also continued to increase rapidly over the past year, with ownership up to 61% in among adults compared to 51% last year. The growth in smartphone use in particular has contributed to people spending an extra 2 hours per day on media and communications since 2010.

Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics has released new figures today which reveal that 76% of adults in the UK access the Internet daily. This figure has more than doubled from the 35% in 2006.

Overall, 84% of households have at least some kind of internet connection, up from 9% in 1998.

In 2014, 68% of adults accessed the Internet using a mobile device, with this number rising to 96% for those aged 16 to 24. Social media sites were accessed by over half of all adults (54%), with 91% of 16 to 24-year-olds doing so.

Further research from Juniper Networks that looked into the value of technology in consumers’ lives found that more than a third of those aged 55 and above value their TV over digital items such as emails and social media accounts. If their online lives were wiped clean, 60% of 55+ year olds wouldn’t pay any money to get those assets back. Yet, accordinging to those surveyed, 54% of 16-24-year-olds would pay more than £100 to get their online lives back.

Colin Evans, business development and service providers director, Juniper Networks, EMEA, said: "Given that we now spend so much time on our devices, rather than chatting to one another, it makes sense that we put more emotional and monetary value on our personal technology to receive, share, store and secure precious data."




Websites in our network
Select and enter your corporate email address Tech Monitor's research, insight and analysis examines the frontiers of digital transformation to help tech leaders navigate the future. Our Changelog newsletter delivers our best work to your inbox every week.
  • CIO
  • CTO
  • CISO
  • CSO
  • CFO
  • CDO
  • CEO
  • Architect Founder
  • MD
  • Director
  • Manager
  • Other
Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.