Thinking back to a time when digital devices didn’t exist or weren’t easily accessible may feel like ancient history. But it really wasn’t that long ago. Internet use, including emails, only became more widespread when broadband allowed the signal in one line to be split between telephone and internet in the early 2000s.
Fast forward to 2008, and 17% of people owned a smartphone, according to Ofcom data. A smartphone does a lot more than make phone calls and send text messages. Back when you could have only browsed the internet home by kicking someone off a landline phone, shopping or watching a film on a phone might have felt impossible. But by 2018, smartphone ownership was up to 78%, and 95% among 16-24 year-olds, many of whom would feel lost without their smartphones.
According to Ofcom, the proportion of people accessing the internet on their mobile has increased from 20% in 2008 to 72% in 2018. What’s more:
- 64% say the internet is an essential part of their life
- 72% of adults say their smartphone is their most important device for accessing the internet
- 71% say they never turn off their phone
- 78% say they could not live without it