The Media in Figures: Adults’ media use and attitudes

BEGINS the broadcasting regulators, Ofcom, of its latest ‘adults’ media use and attitudes’ report: “The number of people aged 65 and over accessing the internet has risen by more than a quarter in the past year, driven by a three-fold increase in the use of tablet computers to go online, new Ofcom research reveals.

“This has helped to drive overall internet use up from 79 per cent of adults in 2012 to 83 per cent in 2013.

“The proportion of people aged over 65 that are accessing the web reached 42 per cent in 2013, up nine percentage points from 33 per cent in 2012, which is a 27 per cent increase over the year. One reason for this is an increase in the use of tablet computers by older people aged 65-74 to go online, up from five per cent in 2012 to 17 per cent in 2013.

“Nearly all adults under 35 years old now go online (98 per cent). The increase in internet use was driven by three different age-groups: 25-34s (98 per cent, up from 92 per cent in 2012), 45-54s (91 per cent, up from 84 per cent), and, most notably, those over 65.”

Other figures revealed by the report:

* Older people spend significantly less time surfing the web than younger people (16-24 year olds), who on average spend more than a whole day (24 hours 12 minutes) each week online. UK adult internet users spend an estimated average 16 hours 54 minutes online each week, which compares to an average 9 hours 12 minutes online per week among those over 65.

* While the majority of adult internet users undertake nine online activities at least quarterly, the majority of over 65s use the internet to carry out just two online activities this regularly – browsing websites (77 per cent) and using email (77 per cent).

* Those over 65 are significantly less likely than all internet users to do a range of online activities, including banking online (35 per cent versus 61 per cent), watching or downloading TV programmes or films (25 per cent versus 40 per cent) and visiting social network sites or apps (30 per cent versus 68 per cent).

* Computers, laptops or netbooks (78 per cent) are still the most popular way to access the internet, but two-thirds of adults also use other devices, such as tablets or smartphones, to surf the web.

* Use of tablet computers to access the internet among adults has almost doubled from 16 per cent in 2012 to 30 per cent in 2013. Nearly two-thirds (59 per cent) of people access the internet through a mobile phone, up by six percentage points since 2012.

* More adults than ever before, including older age groups, are playing games on all types of devices (42 per cent compared to 35 per cent in 2012). The rise in these activities could be driven by the overall increase in internet access as well as increased access to content via tablets and smartphones.

* More than half of apps downloaded are ‘redundant'; Ofcom’s research found that while nearly half (48 per cent) of smartphone users had downloaded an app, two-thirds of the apps downloaded were not regularly used. On average, smartphone owners have 23 apps installed, but only ten are used regularly.

* Over three quarters (78 per cent) of recent app downloaders said they used friends and family recommendations to select apps compared with social media advertising (17 per cent), in-app advertising (16 per cent) and media advertising (11 per cent).

* One in five app users have concerns about apps content while over half (51 per cent) of internet users have concerns. A clear preference is shown by app users to use them for reading news and downloading videos and music, while internet browsers are preferred for shopping and searching for information.

* People aged 16-24 are more than three times more likely to choose their smartphone (47 per cent) over TV (13 per cent). The majority of people aged 65 and over say they would most miss watching TV (68 per cent).

* The report indicates that younger internet users (aged 16-24) appear more informed than all adult users about protecting their personal information on social media. They are more likely to have adjusted their Facebook privacy settings (76 per cent versus 65 per cent for all Facebook users). In the last 12 months, younger social media users are more likely to have blocked friends or followers (49 per cent versus 36 per cent for all social media users) and deleted photos that they have posted (32 per cent versus 22 per cent).

* While younger people seem aware of how to protect their identity in these ways, they are also more likely to say they are happy to provide personal information online to companies as long as they get what they want in return (55 per cent versus 42 per cent for all internet users).

* The number of adults regularly watching DVDs, videos or Blu-ray discs has fallen in the year (63 per cent to 55 per cent), while fewer people said that they read newspapers and magazines (71 per cent to 66 per cent between 2012 and 2013).

* The use of social networking sites remained stable at 66 per cent, but people are using them more regularly. Sixty per cent of those with an active social media site profile visited these sites more than once a day in 2013, up from 50 per cent in 2012.

Source: Ofcom, April 29 2014.