Smartphones officially the number one way to get online in the UK

Smartphones have finally taken over as the number one way people go online in the UK.

According to media watchdog Ofcom, Britons are spending an hour and 54 minutes online through a smartphone every day, and an hour and nine minutes on their computers.

The landmark moment is being attributed to the rising popularity of the 4G, high-speed mobile internet.

The best proof of this popularity is the number of subscriptions to mobile internet, which has skyrocketed in the past year. At the end of 2013 subscriptions to the data network were at 2.7 million. Today, they’re at 23.6 million.

Jane Rumble, head of media research at Ofcom, said: "You can see these devices are becoming more and more an important vital hub of information and communication throughout the day."

Vital hub, indeed. Two-thirds of the UK now owns a smartphone, and young people are leading the way with 90 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds having one.

Half of 55 to 64-year-olds have also made the switch, compared to just 19% of this age group in 2012.

People in the UK took an estimated 1.2 billion ‘selfies’ in the past year. Nearly a third (31 per cent) of UK adults admit to taking a selfie, with one in ten (11 per cent) doing so at least once a week.

Over a third of adults (34 per cent) turn over and check their phones within five minutes of waking up. For young people, checking social media messages before breakfast is even more crucial - around half (49 per cent) of young people aged 18-24 check their phones within five minutes of waking up.

Michael Allen, Solutions VP, Dynatrace said: "This report gives us an unmistakable sign of the huge opportunity that mobile provides as a digital business channel. However, our own research has shown that people have very high expectations when it comes to mobile; nearly a third of UK consumers will abandon a mobile website or app that fail to load within just three seconds. As such, if businesses want to reap the biggest rewards, their website has to be optimised to offer a seamless user-experience on mobile devices.

"Those that have implemented a solid digital performance strategy also stand to improve their rankings in search engines after Google recently updated its algorithms to account for how fast web pages load on a mobile device.

"With more of today’s consumers now running their searches through mobile rather than desktop devices, this will tip the scales significantly in favour of those with a mobile optimised website when it comes to being number one on Google."

UPDATE: Claire Galbois-Alcaix, Director of Cloud Solutions, Accellion, commented: “Surprise, surprise, Ofcom’s latest report has revealed that smartphones are now the UK’s most popular device for getting online. What’s truly surprising is that the enterprise has still not got its head around this fact, and still lags behind on mobile security.

"4G enabled smartphones are great for enhancing productivity and allowing for flexible working, but many employees are still careless about mobile security. This carelessness is creating new security risks that attackers are exploiting via data breaches, hacks, internal fraud cases and more. So why don’t our organisations get the message?

"It is time to address the risks posed in this digital age by setting forth security policies and deploying enterprise grade security solutions. This has been uttered time and time again, yet too many organisations are still taking a “wait and see” approach, which leaves them forever playing catch-up with sophisticated cyber criminals."