UK is now texting more than talking
Mobile voice calls in decline for the first time ever, as more switch to text and online communications
Newer ways of communicating led by 16-24s, with texting and social networking more frequently used than either phone calls or face to face communications
The average Briton now sends 50 texts per week
Two fifths of UK adults now own a smartphone, with the same proportion saying their phone is the most important device for accessing the internet
Tablet ownership has jumped from 2% to 11% in 12 months
Text-based communications are surpassing traditional phone calls or meeting face to face as the most frequent ways of keeping in touch for UK adults.
The findings were revealed when adults were asked what methods they used at least once a day to communicate with friends and family.
The average UK consumer now sends 50 texts per week – which has more than doubled in four years – with over 150 billion text messages sent in 2011. Almost another ninety minutes per week is spent accessing social networking sites and e-mail, or using a mobile to access the internet, while for the first time ever fewer phone calls are being made on both fixed and mobile phones.
Teenagers and young adults are leading these changes, increasingly socialising with friends and family online and through text messages despite saying they prefer to talk face to face.
According to Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2012, 96% of 16-24s are using some form of text based application on a daily basis to communicate with friends and family; with 90% using texts and nearly three quarters (73%) using social networking sites.
By comparison, talking on the phone is less popular among this younger age group, with 67% making mobile phone calls on a daily basis, and only 63% talking face to face.
The report shows that traditional forms of communications are declining in popularity, with the overall time spent on the phone falling by 5% in 2011. This reflects a 10% fall in the volume of calls from landlines, and for the first time ever, a fall in the volume of mobile calls (by just over 1%) in 2011.