UK a nation addicted to smartphones, says new Ofcom report


Research finds smartphone use is increasingly significantly with devices beginning to affect social behaviour

A new report from Ofcom has found that 37 per cent of adults and 60 per cent of teenagers are ‘highly addicted’ to their smartphone.

According to Ofcom’s latest Communications Market Report, over a quarter of adults (27 per cent) and almost half of teenagers (47 per cent) now own a smartphone. Well over half (59 per cent) have acquired their smartphone in the past year.

Smartphone users make significantly more use of their device, with 81 per cent of users making calls everyday compared with 53 per cent of ‘regular’ users. Teenagers were also found to ditch more traditional activities in favour of their smartphone, with 23 per cent claiming to watch less TV and 15 per cent admitting to reading fewer books.

Over three quarters (81 per cent) of smartphone users have their mobile switched on all the time, with four in ten adults and teens admitting using their smartphone after it woke them.

Over half of adults and two thirds of teenagers say they have used their smartphone while socialising with others, 23 per cent of adults and 34 per cent of teenagers admit to using them during meal times and 22 per cent of adults and 47 per cent of teenage smartphone users admitted using or answering their handset in the bathroom or toilet.

Twenty-seven per cent of teenagers are more likely to use their smartphone in places they’ve been asked to switch their handset off, such as in a library or cinema, compared with 18 per cent of adults.

Ofcom’s research found the line between work and social time is also becoming increasingly blurred with smartphone users more likely to take part in work calls while on holiday or annual leave. Seventy per cent say they have done so, with 24 per cent admitting to doing so regularly, compared with 16 per cent of ordinary mobile users.

It also found that 47 per cent of adult smartphone users have downloaded an app, with teenage users more likely to have paid for a download at 38 per cent.

The report also outlines key market developments. At the end of 2010, 49 per cent of mobile subscriptions were contract, compared to 41 per cent a year earlier. Ofcom said the growth in the popularity of smartphones and cheap SIM-only tariffs have contributed to this, with one in five contracts now costing under £15 a month.