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The UK is now a mobile society

Thinking responsively.

The SmartPhone is 7 years old yet it has supplanted desktops, TV and the games console as the most important connected device in the UK.

This sea-change had been predicted as far back as 2010, and OfCom’s latest report has confirmed our deep love and attachment to mobile devices.

SmartPhones now dominate our world, 93% of adults have a mobile phone and of these 71% said they had a smartphone, increasing by a third since 2012. And the SmartPhone is now the No. 1 preferred Internet access device for most folks.

The oldies (or silver surfers as we used to call them) still cling to their desktops as favourites but are the largest user of tablets – it’s thought the larger form factor of a tablet vs a phone may swing those who are more visually challenged.

Mobile advertising revenue has grown 20-fold in the last 5 year, from £83m to over £1600m.

And the pattern of usage is also diverging. Overall, smartphone users now spend nearly two hours using the internet on their mobile phone – this is about twice as long as desktop/laptop usage. This maybe linked to a change of viewing habits as TV consumption fell for the second consecutive year (down 11 minutes to 3hrs 40mins).

4G seems to be a new battleground – it’s a technology that is only 2 years old yet had a 28% uptake in 2014 and this is expected to rise to 50% by the end of this year. Critically, 4G users are also more likely to be able to live without other devices, indicating that they use their devices for a wide range of purposes – and the beginning of the end for fixed-line Internet.

Almost eight in ten households now have fixed broadband access at home and 95% of those use a wireless router, up from less than a third in 2007. Superfast broadband adoption is on the rise, too, the proportion of premises able to receive superfast services (30Mbit/s or higher) is highest in England (84%), followed by Wales (79%), Northern Ireland (77%), and Scotland (73%).

The availability of superfast broadband changes behaviour, you’re more likely to consume video services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, more likely to use cloud-based storage such as Dropbox and iCloud, more likely to stream music through Spotify or Apple and more likely to watch catch-up services such as iPlayer or 4OD.

If you’ve got the time, download the 400 page report.