Talking is being replaced by texting and tweeting after mobile voice calls declined for the first time ever.
According to Ofcom's Communications Market Report 2012, published this morning (18 July) the rapid increase of smartphones and tablets has meant talking on mobiles is now the second most popular form of communication among young people. The report said 96% of people aged 16-24 are using some sort of text-based application to communicate on a daily basis. Texting is preferred by 90% and almost three quarters use social networking sites. Only 67% use their mobile phone to make a call each day and just 63% speak face to face. The report said the decline in popularity of traditional forms of communication has led to a 10% fall in the volume of calls from landlines and a 1% fall in the volume of mobile calls.
A fall in wholesale revenues hit the size of the UK telecoms industry, with sales dropping by 1.9% to £39.7bn. However, the appetite for mobile shows no sign of abating. For the first time, more than half (52%) of all call volumes were made from a mobile phone. The average cost of making a call from a mobile is also broadly in line with landlines. Demand for smartphones also meant the number of Britons opting for a contract hit an all-time high (49%).
The report also found that the average Briton sends 50 texts per week, which has more than doubled in four years. More than 150 billion texts were sent last year. Britons spend more than 90 minutes a week on their phones using social networking sites, email, or accessing the internet.
Smartphones now account for four in every 10 devices owned by an adult, up 30.8% on the previous year. Tablet ownership has risen more than fivefold year on year, with 11% of households owning devices such as the Apple iPad and Samsung Galaxy Tab. The report found 17% of households intend to buy a tablet within the next year.
Ofcom director of research James Thickett 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.'
Editor: Graeme Neill