Britain's now a smartphone and selfie nation, Ofcom report finds

Lynsey Barber
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We're a nation of smartphone using selfie-takers

If you feel like smartphones are taking over, you're not wrong.

The nation is now using smartphones to get online more than any other device for the first time in history.

The smartphone has snatched the crown from laptops as the device people said was the most important for getting online - 33 per cent versus 30 per cent, compared to 23 per cent versus 40 per cent in 2014, marking a significant shift in habits.

Smartphone ownership is also at a record high and the most widely owned internet device, according to the latest research from Ofcom. Two-thirds of adults in the UK have one in their pocket (or, mire likely, hand), up from 39 per cent just three years ago.

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While use among young people is unsurprisingly high (just 10 per cent of 16-24 year olds don't own a smartphone), older generations are not far behind, with half aged 55-64 owning a smartphone, up on 12 per cent in 2012.

Ofcom has put the shift down to increasing use of 4G. The number of subscriptions to 4G have rocketed more than 700 per cent last year.

Those using 4G are doing more with their time online - which overall for all smartphone is around two hours. 4G users are doing more shopping and banking online, as well as watching more TV and making more video calls, voice calls and messages than those without.

"Today’s report shows just how important reliable, fast internet access is to millions of consumers and businesses," said Ofcom boss Sharon White. "Improving the coverage and quality of all communications services across the UK is a priority for Ofcom, for people at work, home or on the move.”

Smartphones are also being used to document our lives more than ever before. More photos are taken on them than any other device, even digital cameras dedicated to the job. On average 60 per cent of adults in the UK use their smartphone the most for taking snaps.

More than a fifth have admitted to taking a selfie, and one in ten do so at least once a week. No wonder then that it's estimated we've taken 1.2bn of them over the past year.

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