Ofcom have released the new Online Nation 2021 report which reveals the changing patterns of the internet usage in the UK and how we compare to other countries in the year where COVID changed the way we live.

Stand out figures include a five percent rise in the number of homes with internet access, hitting an all time high of 94% and also reveals that 86% of UK adults used the internet in September 2020.

However it also demonstrates disparities in access to internet services and how the pandemic has created a bigger digital divide. Six percent of households are digitally excluded, having no home internet access, and 14% of adults rarely access the internet. The old and lower socio-economic household groups are more likely to be digitally excluded.

Compared to our neighbours and other countries the UK stands out as a huge consumer of the internet, averaging three and a half hours online a day in 2020 – ahead of Spain, France and Germany, but still more than an hour a day less than the US. However interestingly, for a year where so much time was spent in lockdown, there has been surprising little impact on the time spent on computers, tablets and smartphones with only a few minutes year-on-year increase amongst most age groups.

Online Nation Charts
The report also highlights how the GAFAM group of platforms were major beneficiaries of the past year with sites and apps owned by Google (including YouTube) and Facebook (including Instagram) making up 39% of all the time spent online on computers, smartphones, and tablets.

The full report can be downloaded HERE

Exploring the challenges surrounding digital inclusion and connecting the unconnected will be the these of the Connected Society channel at Connected Britain in September. Consumer-facing UK-based operators and UK-based members of the public sector can attend for free for the London event on the 21-22 September 2021. Register here