Brits spend 50 hours a week online
Brits are living two days of their week online according to research by independent price comparison and switching service, uSwitch.com. By using the web for work, rest and play, they are clocking up an astonishing 50 hours a week on the internet - an unprecedented jump of 20 hours a week in just two years.
A typical working day in 2009 saw the average Brit spent five hours online. Now our web-hungry nation spends nine hours online - four hours for professional purposes and five for pleasure and leisure, including social networking, online shopping, managing finances, watching films and downloading music.
But our addiction isn't just contained to the working week. During weekend ‘downtime', the average Brit spends four hours a day online. The uSwitch.com research suggests that young adults take this even further. A staggering 14% of 18-24 year olds spend over ten hours a day online at the weekend, surfing the net, watching TV and keeping in touch with friends and family.
In fact, social networking is one of the main reasons that Brits now spend so much time online. 93% of 18-24 year olds regularly using sites such as Facebook and Twitter compared to 41% of silver surfers (aged 55 years or over). Online shopping has also contributed to the dramatic increase. With cash-strapped consumers keen to hunt down bargains, 90% of the UK now shops on the internet. On top of this, 85% of Brits spend time managing their money online, more than half (57%) watch TV, films and video online, and one third (31%) download music.
But, when it comes to spending time on the internet, there is a significant difference between the regions. The greatest internet addicts live in London, where the average person will spend 55 hours a week online. This is closely followed by people in the North West who spend an average of 53 hours a week online - three hours more than the national average. But the picture changes across the Pennines. Consumers in the North East spend just 45 hours online per week, 22% less time than those in the capital.
Ernest Doku, technology expert at uSwitch.com, comments: "These figures show just what an impact the internet has had on our lives. It's become such a life essential that it's very hard to imagine how we would cope without it. It's likely that our reliance will only increase as the younger generations come to the fore and smartphones become more prolific. In fact many young people seem to prefer touchscreen technology to getting in touch with people face to face.
"But the regional differences show that we are still seeing signs of a digital divide and the risk of social exclusion for those unable or unwilling to go online. More work needs to be done to encourage greater take-up amongst vulnerable groups, who could be losing out if they are not logging on.
"In the meantime, it's more important than ever that consumers understand what their broadband package will provide them with. For example, those enjoying the delights of on-demand TV may not realise that there is a set limit as to how much data they are allowed use. A 45-minute TV programme, such as Desperate Housewives, uses up around 350Mb, while a two-hour movie could use up to 900Mb. And that's just standard definition. This soon adds up over a month and customers could well find themselves getting a warning that they are over-using their service, "unlimited" or not."