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Texting surpasses phone & face-to-face conversations in UK

For the first time ever people in the UK are now more likely to send a text than make a phone call according to new research from Ofcom.

The findings from the communications industry regulator showed that only 47 per cent of participants made a daily mobile call in 2011, compared to the 58 per cent that sent text messages each day. The unsurprising, but nevertheless ground-breaking, trends come courtesy of Ofcom’s annual market report which asked adults what methods they used at least once a day to communicate with friends and family.

The report showed traditional means of contact are declining in popularity, with overall time spent talking on the phone falling by five per cent, partly helped by a one per cent fall in mobile calls – the first time this has ever declined.

On the other hand, the average UK consumer now sends 50 texts per week; a figure that has more than doubled in four years, while over 150 billion text messages were sent in 2011 Such patterns have led Ofcom to conclude that text-based communications are surpassing traditional phone calls and meeting face to face as the most frequent ways of keeping in touch for UK adults.

Online outlets have also eaten away at verbal interaction, as the participants spent almost ninety minutes per week accessing social networking sites and email accounts.

Ofcom says young adults are leading the change in habits, with the jump in tablet ownership from two per cent to 11 per cent over twelve months also playing a significant part.

James Thickett, Ofcom's director of research, said, “Our research reveals that in just a few short years, new technology has fundamentally changed the way that we communicate. Talking face to face or on the phone are no longer the most common ways for us to interact with each other."

“In their place, newer forms of communications are emerging which don't require us to talk to each other especially among younger age groups. This trend is set to continue as technology advances and we move further into the digital age.”