People now spend twice as much time online
James R | On 19, May 2015
How many hours do you spend online each week? How about each day?
Earlier this year, Netflix revealed a surprising statistic: that in the first three moths of 2015, its members streamed 10 billion hours of original content, the equivalent of 160 hours per member over the quarter, or 53 hours per month. To put it another way, Netflix users spent just over 2 days watching original shows and films on average each month – and that’s not including the catalogue of older series and movies available to stream.
If that sounds like a lot, though, new Ofcom research confirms just how much the Internet has become a part of our lives: people are now spending twice as much time online compared to 10 years ago, according to the study.
The Media Use and Attitudes report, now in its 10th year, shows that Internet users aged 16 and above claimed to spend nearly 10 hours (9 hours and 54 minutes) online each week in 2005. By 2014, that had climbed to over 20 hours and 30 minutes.
The biggest increase in Internet use is cited among 16-24 year olds, almost tripling from 10 hours and 24 minutes each week in 2005 to 27 hours and 36 minutes by the end of 2014.
2014 saw the biggest increase in time spent online in a decade, with Internet users spending over three and a half hours longer online each week than they did in 2013 (20 hours and 30 minutes in 2014, compared to 16 hours and 54 minutes in 2013).
Why the increase? Part of it is driven by the ever-expanding spread of mobile devices: Apple’s iPad launched in the UK five years ago this month, which has helped (alongside other Android devices) to take tablets into the mainstream.
Last year, four in 10 adults used a tablet to surf the web, up from just one in 20 in 2010. Smartphone usage has also more than doubled, from three in 10 adults in 2010 to two thirds in 2014.
As a result, the amount of time people are online while out and about has increased five-fold over the past decade. Overall, the proportion of adults using the internet has risen by half – from six in 10 in 2005 to almost nine in 10 today.
The other big factor has been the rise of entertainment and communication online.
Social media usage has tripled since 2007, with almost three quarters (72 per cent) of Internet users aged 16 and over saying they have a social media profile. Now, almost half (49 per cent) of 55-64 year olds who go online have a social media profile.
TV and video, though, is perhaps the biggest change in recent years, as streaming becomes increasingly mainstream. 27 per cent of users regularly watch TV or films online, compared to one in 10 in 2007. This rises to 39 per cent of 16-24 year olds, both figures higher than the 22 per cent who regularly play games online as of 2014.
Watching video clips online has almost doubled over the past eight years, from 21 per cent to 39 per cent of internet users, adds Ofcom.
Suddenly, two days a month watching Netflix original content doesn’t seem quite so surprising.