Smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online, Ofcom research has revealed, with record ownership and use transforming the way we communicate.

Ofcom published their annual 2015 Communications Market Report with lots of great data on how the UK are using technology and media on August 6. The key thing to emerge is that smartphones are now seen as the most important device for connecting to the internet – with 33% agreeing – beating the laptop into second place with 30%. Add smartphones and tablets together and you get to 52%.

Ofcom chart

Ofcom chart

Two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online.

Ofcom found that a third (33%) of internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online, compared to 30% who are still sticking with their laptop. The rise in smartphone surfing marks a clear shift since 2014, when just 22% turned to their phone first, and 40% preferred their laptop.

Smartphones have become the hub of our daily lives and are now in the pockets of two thirds (66%) of UK adults, up from 39% in 2012. The vast majority (90%) of 16-24 year olds own one; but 55-64 year olds are also joining the smartphone revolution, with ownership in this age group more than doubling since 2012, from 19% to 50%.

The surge is being driven by the increasing take-up of 4G mobile broadband, providing faster online access. During 2014, 4G subscriptions have leapt from 2.7 million to 23.6 million by the end of 2014.

We now spend almost twice as long online with our smartphones than on laptops and personal computers. On average, adult mobile users spent nearly two hours online each day using a smartphone in March 2015 (1 hour and 54 minutes), compared to just over an hour on laptops and PCs (1 hour and nine minutes).

Ben Evans has written an excellent piece examining the Ofcom report in more detail which looks at some of the key facts and figures. Read it here.

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