Increasing number of Britons “highly addicted” to smartphones as usage booms

Increasing number of Britons “highly addicted” to smartphones as usage booms

Over a third of adults and nearly two thirds of teenagers admit they are “highly addicted” to their smartphones, UK communications watchdog Ofcom has revealed in its latest Communications Market Report.

The study, which polled 2,073 adults and 521 children and teenagers in March of this year, indicates that 27% of adults now own a smartphone, with almost half of teenagers now owning a device running a popular smartphone operating system including iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS.

Smartphone growth in the UK is demonstrated in the survey, with 59% of respondents buying their smartphone in the past year, as manufacturers and mobile operators begin to release mobile phones with advanced technologies and easy-to-use platforms.

Owners of such devices are making more calls and sending more texts than featurephone owners, with 81% of smartphone owners making calls everyday compared with 53% of featurephone owners. Teenagers are readily dropping tradition activities, with nearly a quarter of respondents watching less TV and 15% stating that they read less books as they take to their smartphones.

When asked how they used their smartphone devices, 81% admitted that they kept their device switched on all of the time, with 38% of adults and 40% of teens acknowledging that they would use their smartphone the minute they woke up.

However, the always-connected nature of the smartphone does bring its fair share of annoyances, particularly with users that find it difficult to draw a line between work and social time. 70% of those surveyed admitted they have taken a work call outside of work, with nearly a quarter admitting they did so regularly. Only 16% of featurephone owners admitted they did the same.

Both adults and teenagers are seen to be driving the increase in application downloads, with 47% of adult smartphone users noting that they had downloaded an app, but teenagers are more likely to pay for an app with 38% of teenage respondents having paid for a download on their smartphone.

The Guardian adds that for the first time, smartphone sales topped those of featurephone sales, in the first six months of the year alone:

Just over half of the total 13.6m mobile sales from January to June 2011 were smartphones, according to research by GfK Retail and Technology UK.

Smartphone sales in the UK are set to increase as vendors look to incorporate advanced platforms into their offerings, hitting the major price-points and lowering the barrier to entry. Applications help drive smartphone sales, as consumers look to replace their existing gadgets with a unified device.

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