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U.K. adults spent more time online in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic than people in other European countries, with short-form video platform TikTok experiencing particularly big user gains, according to media and communications regulator Ofcom.
In a report on Wednesday, it said adults in Britain spent 217 minutes, more than three-and-a-half hours, online each day in 2020. Its research included web usage on desktops, smartphones and tablets. The average time U.K. adults spent online was more than an hour longer than grown-ups spent online in Germany and France and 30 minutes more than people in Spain.
Ofcom said its Online Nation 2021 report ”delivers a snapshot of an unprecedented year, when communication, entertainment, culture, retail, work and education moved more online.”
Among the findings: “Brits also spent nearly £2.45 billion ($3.47 billion) on, and in, mobile apps across last year, with Tinder, Disney+, YouTube and Netflix topping the list,” it said.
Social video sites and apps were used by 97 percent of U.K. adult Internet users, Ofcom found. “Young adults are particularly heavy users of social video platforms, with 18-24-year-olds spending an average of 1 hour 16 minutes per day on YouTube in September 2020 – an increase of 11 minutes since 2019.”
TikTok experienced “huge growth” during the pandemic – growing from 3 million U.K. adult visitors in September 2019 to 14 million in March 2021. “TikTok also saw the biggest increase in daily use among young adults – with 18-24-year-olds more than doubling their time spent on it in the year to September 2020, up from 17 minutes to 38 minutes,” according to the report.
British adults downloaded more apps during lockdown than their European counterparts. Ofcom reported a a daily average of 2.41 billion downloads, compared with 2.20 billion in Germany, 2.15 billion in France and 1.46 billion in Spain. Also, 49 percent of U.K. adults, around 26 million people, visited an adult website or app in September 2020.
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