London - Britons spend an average of one in 12 waking minutes on the internet - almost twice as long as three years ago, research shows.
Surfers use PCs, mobiles and tablet devices to access websites for 43 hours a month, compared with 22 hours in 2010, the year the iPad was launched.
Entertainment and social networking sites account for more than a third of all users’ time online.
Industry analysts say the rise is down to the launch of tablet devices and greater access to wi-fi. The research was carried out by the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB), which calculated that 46 million people in the UK spend one in 12 minutes on the internet.
Scott Fleming, of the UK Online Measurement company (UKOM), which provided figures for the study, said: “Technology is the enabler. The introduction of tablets has made it easier to connect to the internet.
“Any new technology coming on to the market will increase the time spent on the internet so I’m not surprised. If we broke the data down by age it would show an even bigger difference, especially among kids, who are driving up usage.”
He added: “The tablet has definitely had an impact and the more providers that come on to the market the more we will see usage go up. Smartphones also make it easier to access on the move.”
Around 12.8 million people accessed the internet via tablets in the UK this July, according to UKOM.
An hourly breakdown of the overall statistics shows Britons spend around 13 minutes on entertainment sites, seven minutes on social networks and blogs, three minutes on emails and two and a half minutes on retail. The rest of the time is spent on online auctions, games, sports and general searches.
Mr Fleming said online video consumption was rapidly increasing. “If I want to watch an episode of Top Gear on my phone, that’s 60 minutes I’ve spent online,” he said.
The surge in usage has seen online investment from advertisers reach a record high, with £3-billion spent in the first half of 2013, equating to £66 (about R1 000) per head of the online population.
Tim Elkington, of IAB, said the biggest change had been in mobile advertising, which increased from £188-million in the first half of 2012 to £429-million in the same period of 2013.
He said the total spend on mobile advertising could cross the £1-billion threshold for the first time this year.
Mr Fleming added: “Everyone wins. I am happy I can view content on the move, the advertisers are happy because they can engage with more consumers for more time online.” - Daily Mail