People are spending twice as much time online compared to 10 years ago, fuelled by increasing use of tablets and smartphones, according to new Ofcom research.

Ofcom’s Media Use and Attitudes 2015 report, now in its 10th year, shows that internet users aged 16 and above claimed to spend nearly 10 hours online each week in 2005. By 2014 it had climbed to over 20 hours and 30 minutes.

The biggest increase in internet use is cited among 16-24 year olds, almost tripling from 10 hours and 24 minutes each week in 2005 to 27 hours and 36 minutes by the end of 2014.

2014 saw the biggest increase in time spent online in a decade, with internet users spending over three and a half hours longer online each week than they did in 2013 (20 hours and 30 minutes in 2014, compared to 16 hours and 54 minutes in 2013).

Tablet and mobile use

While just 5% of adults reported using a tablet to go online in 2010, this increased to 39% in 2014. Using a smartphone has more than doubled in five years, from 30% of adults in 2010 to 66% in 2014.

As a result, the amount of time people are online while ‘out and about’ has increased five-fold over the past 10 years, from 30 minutes in 2005 to nearly two and a half hours in 2014.

Overall, the proportion of adults using the internet has risen by half – from six in 10 in 2005 to almost nine in 10 today.

Online entertainment

Similarly, more people are watching TV and video on the internet. Over a quarter (27%) of internet users regularly watch TV or films online, compared to one in 10 in 2007. This rises to 39% of 16-24 year olds, up from 21% in 2007. Watching video clips online has almost doubled over the past eight years, from 21% to 39% of internet users.

The mobile phone is now the primary device used for gaming with over a quarter (26%) of mobile users playing games at least once a week, compared to 17% playing on games consoles. Some 15% of adults now use a tablet for gaming.

Social media

The use of social media has also tripled since 2007.  Nearly three quarters (72%) of internet users aged 16 and above say they have a social media profile, compared to 22% in 2007.

Some 81% of social media users log into these websites or apps – including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Tumblr – at least once a day, up from 30% in 2007.

Social media has seen the biggest growth among 35-44 year olds, with 80% of internet users in this age group now on social media, up from just 12% in 2007.

2014 saw a dramatic surge in older people using social media, with nearly half (49%) of 55-64 year olds who go online having a social media profile, up from one third (33%) in 2013.

Time spent on line infographic