TikTok boom: Brits spent a quarter of their waking hours in lockdown online – Ofcom

A quarter? That's pretty weak

Brits are spending more time than ever online, according to comms watchdog Ofcom's latest Online Nation report, and it's all thanks - surprise, surprise - to coronavirus. In April, at the height of lockdown, the average person was online for four hours and two minutes each day.

That, the regulator says, represents more than a quarter of the typical person's waking hours. It's also greater than the typical amount of time spent watching TV (three hours and 19 minutes) or listening to the radio (two hours and 40 minutes).

When you break down the data, there's a predictable demographic split. Those over the age of 55 spent the least amount of time online – three hours and 16 minutes.

Meanwhile, those in the 18-24 age bracket – commonly described as "Generation Z" – were connected for the most amount of time: Five hours and four minutes. Given this is the generation that grew up online, with the internet being their primary tool for socialisation and entertainment, you'd rightly expect the figures to split in that direction.

Ofcom's research shows that most of that time – three hours and 29 minutes – was spent among a group of 13 online properties you'd describe as "the usual offenders": Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and so on.

There are seismic shifts taking place in this space, and Ofcom highlighted the growth of two services in particular: the controversial Chinese video-sharing platform TikTok, and Zoom, the videoconferencing app that's enjoyed rapid growth since the outbreak of coronavirus.

TikTok, for example, reached nearly 12.9 million Brits in April, compared to just 5.4 million in January. Zoom's numbers are even more impressive, with the service growing from 659,000 users in January to 13 million in April).

Discussing the findings, Dan Howdle, analyst at Cable.co.uk, noted these growth figures are an inevitable consequence of the isolation caused by lockdown.

"Since entering lockdown our physical distance from one another has led to us finding ways to communicate that we perhaps wouldn't have turned to previously. In the work space, this has led to increased uptake of online meeting platforms, while at home far more of us are using apps such as WhatsApp, Zoom and FaceTime for video calling where previously a simple text would do".

Howdle also noted this newfound trend of video calling could remain long after the end of the pandemic as people cling to the habits they've developed during lockdown.

"Video calling, home working, and online meetings are likely to become a habit, and continue to pervade many businesses and social groups, fundamentally changing the way we live, work and communicate," he added. ®

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • Battlefield 2042: Please don't be the death knell of the franchise, please don't be the death knell of the franchise

    Another terrible launch, but DICE is already working on improvements

    The RPG Greetings, traveller, and welcome back to The Register Plays Games, our monthly gaming column. Since the last edition on New World, we hit level cap and the "endgame". Around this time, item duping exploits became rife and every attempt Amazon Games made to fix it just broke something else. The post-level 60 "watermark" system for gear drops is also infuriating and tedious, but not something we were able to address in the column. So bear these things in mind if you were ever tempted. On that note, it's time to look at another newly released shit show – Battlefield 2042.

    I wanted to love Battlefield 2042, I really did. After the bum note of the first-person shooter (FPS) franchise's return to Second World War theatres with Battlefield V (2018), I stupidly assumed the next entry from EA-owned Swedish developer DICE would be a return to form. I was wrong.

    The multiplayer military FPS market is dominated by two forces: Activision's Call of Duty (COD) series and EA's Battlefield. Fans of each franchise are loyal to the point of zealotry with little crossover between player bases. Here's where I stand: COD jumped the shark with Modern Warfare 2 in 2009. It's flip-flopped from WW2 to present-day combat and back again, tried sci-fi, and even the Battle Royale trend with the free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone (2020), which has been thoroughly ruined by hackers and developer inaction.

    Continue reading
  • American diplomats' iPhones reportedly compromised by NSO Group intrusion software

    Reuters claims nine State Department employees outside the US had their devices hacked

    The Apple iPhones of at least nine US State Department officials were compromised by an unidentified entity using NSO Group's Pegasus spyware, according to a report published Friday by Reuters.

    NSO Group in an email to The Register said it has blocked an unnamed customers' access to its system upon receiving an inquiry about the incident but has yet to confirm whether its software was involved.

    "Once the inquiry was received, and before any investigation under our compliance policy, we have decided to immediately terminate relevant customers’ access to the system, due to the severity of the allegations," an NSO spokesperson told The Register in an email. "To this point, we haven’t received any information nor the phone numbers, nor any indication that NSO’s tools were used in this case."

    Continue reading
  • Utility biz Delta-Montrose Electric Association loses billing capability and two decades of records after cyber attack

    All together now - R, A, N, S, O...

    A US utility company based in Colorado was hit by a ransomware attack in November that wiped out two decades' worth of records and knocked out billing systems that won't be restored until next week at the earliest.

    The attack was detailed by the Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) in a post on its website explaining that current customers won't be penalised for being unable to pay their bills because of the incident.

    "We are a victim of a malicious cyber security attack. In the middle of an investigation, that is as far as I’m willing to go," DMEA chief exec Alyssa Clemsen Roberts told a public board meeting, as reported by a local paper.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021