Ofcom 2015 Media and Device Ownership

Ofcom’s Communications Market Report provides an annual overview of UK media and device ownership and usage; essential reading for planning user-centric projects.

Infographic representing Media Usage and Device ownership

Device ownership

Smartphones (66%) became the most popular internet enabled device in households in the UK closely followed by laptop computers (65%).

  • Two thirds of households in the UK have a smartphone.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65%) of households own a laptop.
  • Over half of UK households (54%) now have a tablet.
  • Only 3% of UK households own a smartwatch.

Level of device ownership varies according to socio-economic status and age of those surveyed.

  • Two-thirds (66%) of AB and 58% of C1 households own a tablet computer compared to the average of  54%.
  • Seventy-two percent of AB and 71% of C1 socio-economic groups own a smartphone compared to the average of 66%.
  • Ninety percent of 16-24 year olds, 87% of 25-34 year olds and  80% of 35-54 year olds own a smartphone as compared to the 66% average.
  • Sixty percent of 16-24 year olds, 61% of 25-34 year olds and 64% of 35-54 year olds own a tablet computer compared to the average of  54%.
  • The average UK household owns four different types of internet-enabled device.

Device Usage

Smartphones are considered the most important device for accessing the internet.

  • A third of internet users (Q1 2015) rated smartphones the most important device to access the internet, closely followed by laptops (30%).
  • In March 2015, more time was spent browsing online on a smartphone (58.6 minutes) than on desktops and laptops (31.3 minutes).
  • Internet users aged 16 and above spent over 20 hours and 30 minutes online each week in 2014.
  • Almost eight in ten households now have fixed broadband access at home.

Internet activities

Google websites are the most visited services for UK internet users

  • General browsing (85%) is the most popular online activity followed by sending and receiving email (83%).
  • Accessing social media (56%) and watching TV or video online (54%) were also popular activities.
  • Just over a third of internet users (37%) spent their time watching short video clips online
  • A third of internet users admitted to playing games online and 24% to spending time uploading content.
  • Google services were the most visited websites with 46 million users followed by Facebook (41 m) and BBC (40m).
  • Google is still the most popular search engine with a digital audience in March 2015 of 39.6 m.
  • UK internet users spent most time using Facebook apps and websites, in March 2015 this amounted to 51 billion minutes.
  • Four in ten adults (39%) said that they got news from a website or app (in Q1 2015), although TV remains the most popular medium (85% of UK adults).
  • One in four internet users (24%) say they have used a website or an app related to their local area.
  • Estimated internet advertising spend rose to £7.2bn  in 2014. The single largest type of advertising by expenditure outstripping TV spend of £4.9bn.

Perceived Trustworthiness of Online Content

Users accessing online content felt that familiarity was the key characteristic of ‘trustworthy content’.

  • Familiarity was perceived through a known company name or logo and an intuitive judgement  of the website’s features such as a layout.
  • Users looked for cues such as geographical location, professional presentation, up-to-date information but not URLs when assessing trustworthiness.
  • Popularity ie rating on a search engines, number of users or recommendation from friends and family was another indicator of dependability.
  • The desirability of the content overrides the assessment of trust.


infographic showing mobile apps on different smartphones

Mobile apps

  • Facebook published the three most downloaded apps in March 2015: WhatsApp Messenger, Facebook app and the Facebook Messenger app.
  • Of the top ten most downloaded apps downloaded in March 2015, only two were games (Crossy Road and Candy Crush Saga), another two were video and/or music (Youtube and Spotify) the rest were for social media and messaging.
  • Four in ten online adults (38%) claimed to have played any type of game on a mobile and/or tablet in the past week.
  • Video-sharing services ie Youtube or Vimeo are more likely to be accessed via smartphone or tablet.
  • Nearly a third (31%) of UK adults admit to taking at least one ‘selfie’.

More than seven in ten (72%) of online adults have a social networking profile.

  • Ninety-three percent of 16-24 year olds, 90% of 25-34 year olds and 80% of 35-44 year olds have a social media profile, whereas just over a quarter (28%) of the 65+ age group are registered.
  • Facebook’s digital audience is almost twice that of Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus.
  • In April 2015, Facebook had a digital audience of 40.7 million unique visitors in the UK, almost twice that of Twitter.