Average users are online for 15 hours a week

Stats time again, and yesterday Ofcom launched their 2012 Adults: media use and attitudes report, which provides an overview of media use, attitudes and understanding amongst UK adults. I’m always glad to have a report to get my teeth into, and found lots of interesting numbers in this one. Most interestingly for us, the report says 79% of adults in the UK now use the internet somewhere – at home, at work, on the bus with a smartphone – up from 56% in 2005 (you might have noticed this is different from the ONS stats we quoted a few weeks ago, and from the OxIS report published last year. I’ll blog again soon about why these differences exist and what they mean.)

There were lots of other interesting data in the report. The average user now says they’re online for 15 hours a week, up from 10 hours since 2005. We’re very high-tech here and work in the cloud, so it can sometimes feel like I can spend 15 hours online in one day! But it’s really interesting that people are finding an extra 5 hours in their week to be online, and am sure this is down to the huge rise in mobile internet usage, with smartphone use up to 55% from 39%; and 79% of adults now going online on any device in any location. Having a smartphone does certainly help fill the dead hours spent on trains and waiting for buses!

And it’s no surprise that social networking is growing – with 59% of adult internet users now having a profile on a social networking site, up from 22% in 2007. That year (2007), we published our network development plan where we rated “online residents” or social networkers as more advanced internet users than bloggers, publishers of photos and content and online transactors – how wrong we were, with social networking now one of the most accessible things you can do on the web.  It’s funny to think the example we gave for the “online resident” was a mySpace user, which just goes to show how much things have changed.

Reports like these are a great way of casting an eye back over the digital skills landscape, and measuring where we are now, but one thing it does make clear is just how hard it is to predict what’s coming next. Who’s to know what’s round the corner, and whether the next Facebook is already out there, slowly gaining a following. Only time will tell!

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