The dust has by no means settled when it comes to the changing mix of devices and methods people in the UK use to consume content, if Ofcom’s latest communications market report is anything to go by.

As usual it’s packed with useful survey data that helps answer some of the questions publishers have about the way in which their consumers approach media in the digital age, so we’ve picked out six of the most important points. The full report is worth reading for more detail, however.

1. A laptop still most important device for connecting to the internet

Overall across all internet users, a laptop was considered the most important device for connecting to the internet, according to 40 percent of respondents. However, more respondents said a smartphone was more important than a desktop for getting online – 23 percent to 20 percent, respectively.

Only 15 percent of respondents said a tablet was the most important device, up from 8 percent in 2013. 

Those tablet stats almost double however when just looking at those people who actually have a tablet.

most important device

2. Newspapers won’t be missed 

Given TheMediaBriefing’s raison d’étre, we’re pretty attached to newspapers and magazines.

However, the wider population doesn’t seem so sentimental, with just two percent of respondents saying a newspaper would be form of media they would miss the most.

Unsurprisingly, watching TV tops the leaderboard for most-missed media (42 percent), but smartphone use comes in second, with 22 percent of respondents saying they would miss it the most.

ofcom most missed media

3. Less time is spent listening to radio

More time is spent per day using TV, the internet, and mobile phones, but consumers are spending less time per day using the radio, which has dropped from 172 to 166 minutes in the last 5 years.

Consumers are now spending an average of 68 minutes a day using the internet on a PC or laptop, and only 28 minutes a day on a mobile phone, which seems a little low, but the averages are probably skewed by older age groups that still use traditional consumption forms like TV and radio and eschew more digital alternatives.

ofcom time per day device consumption habit

4. Most social media activity isn’t about news

Only 1 percent of total social media use across all adults is spent checking online news (that doesn’t include sports news). 16-24-year-olds spend two percent of their time spent using social media use checking news. The vast majority is spent communicating with other users (48 percent of social media use), while checking updates/general browsing is also a popular activity (37 percent). Gaming also makes up 10 percent of all adults’ social media usage, and actually becomes more popular as ages increase.

social media use ofcom

5. This is your platform competition

It’s difficult to pull out individual data points from the following graph, as Ofcom don’t provide the raw data, but it represents your compeition across other media platforms. TV and radio make up the majority of daily consumption across the day, but they lose a lot of their footing from around 9am – 4pm, while people work. Print is that thin sliver of light blue at the top of the graph, which peaks in the morning.

ofcom platform competition

6. Younger audiences are less interested in print editions

That statement won’t win any prizes for scientific discovery of the year, but it’s interesting to see two thirds of 16-24-year-olds who read a newspaper at all do so in with digital versions. Equally, that means a third read printed editions, which is surprisingly high. Bear in mind however that the vast majority of young audiences don’t read newspapers in the first place…

digital print newspaper


Image via woodleywonderworks used under a Creative Commons license.