Adults in the United Kingdom spent more than three and a half hours online each day in 2020. That is more than an hour longer than those in Germany and France, and half an hour more than in Spain, but about an hour less than in the United States. Users of YouTube aged between 18 and 24 spent an average of 1 hour 16 minutes a day on the service on their computers, tablets and smartphones.
The annual study of national online habits from the communications regulator Ofcom showed that those aged 15-16 spent the most time online, at an average of 4 hours and 54 minutes a day. Those aged 18-24 spent an average of 4 hours and 34 minutes online. The average for all those aged over 18 was 3 hours and 37 minutes.
These figures do not include television set and connected device usage. In addition, an average of 1 hours 21 minutes a day was spent watching online services such as Netflix and BBC iPlayer on television sets, an increase of 24 minutes a day on the previous year.
Average adult internet usage in the United Kingdom was up 9 minutes on the previous year. That is a relatively modest increase given the reliance people had on online services during the pandemic, but online usage was already ubiquitous.
Average adult online usage rose to over 4 hours a day in April 2020, an increase of 37 minutes a day compared to the previous April. Among those aged 18-24 it rose to over 5 hours a day.
Internet users aged over 54 had the highest year-on-year increase, up by 16 minutes a day to 2 hours 51 minutes.
In the first quarter of 2021, average adult online usage had risen to 3 hours 45 minutes per day.
At the start of 2021 there were still an estimated 6% of homes in the United Kingdom that did not have internet access. That is around one and a half million homes. 18% of those aged over 64 do not have online access at home. In contrast, 99% of households in the United Kingdom with children aged under 18 have online access at home, although 4% of them only had access via a mobile network.
YouTube was the most popular app on mobile devices in the United Kingdom in September 2020, by reach and time spent per visitor per day. It was used on average for over half an hour a day, almost twice as much as Facebook. They both had around 43 million unique adult visitors in the United Kingdom, given them a reach of over 95% of the adult population.
Those aged 18 to 24 that used YouTube spent an average of 1 hour and 16 minutes a day on the service, not including usage on television.
TiKTok saw significant growth in usage during 2020. It now has nearly 14 million adult users in the United Kingdom, although it is also particularly popular among children.
The report also suggests that one in three adults in the United Kingdom visited the adult site Pornhub in 2020, with an average visit time of 10 minutes 20 seconds, or an average of 37 minutes per visitor in a typical month.
The Online Nation 2021 reportpublished by Ofcom provides a wealth of data on online usage in the United Kingdom and is available for download from its web site.