Mobile phone and internet usage statistics in the UK

Smartphone ownership in the UK and other statistics.

We look at the latest mobile internet and smartphone statistics, including how many people own a smartphone, the number of internet users in the UK and how many of us use apps for online banking.

Mobile phone usage statistics: Highlights

  • In 2023, 87% of UK adults own a smartphone.
  • 96% of 16- to 24-year-olds own a smartphone, but just 69% of over-65s own a smartphone.
  • Brits spend an average of 4 hours and 14 minutes a day on their smartphones.
  • There are 66.11 million internet users in the UK, around 98% of the population.
  • 7% of UK households do not have access to the internet at home in 2023.
  • A quarter (25%) of those aged 65 and over don’t have access to the internet at home.
  • There are estimated to be 60.2 million mobile internet users in 2023.
  • Almost 1 in 5 internet users (18%) only go online via a smartphone.
  • 8 in 10 people (81%) say their smartphone keeps them up at night.
  • Three-quarters (76%) of people with smartphones use banking apps.
  • EE is the most popular mobile network in all regions, with almost 1 in 4 (23%) people using it.

How many people own a smartphone in the UK?

In 2023, 87% of UK adults own a smartphone. Interestingly, this is down slightly from 89% in 2022, but up 27 percentage points from 2014, when only three-fifths (60%) of the UK adult population owned a smartphone.

Year Percentage of smartphone users
2014 60%
2015 66%
2016 71%
2017 76%
2018 78%
2019 79%
2020 82%
2021 87%
2022 89%
2023 87%

Smartphone ownership by age in the UK

In 2023, 96% of 16- to 24-year-olds own a smartphone, the highest of any age group. Ownership among 25- to 34-year-olds and 35- to 54-year-olds is also high, at 94% and 95%, respectively.

Smartphone ownership drops with the older age groups, however, as just 77% of those aged 55 to 64 and 69% of those aged 65 and over use a smartphone.

Age group Percentage of smartphone users
65+ 69%
55-64 77%
35-54 95%
25-34 94%
16-24 96%

How long do Brits spend on their phones?

Brits spend an average of 4 hours and 14 minutes a day on their smartphones as of 2022. The average time spent on phones has increased each year, going from just 3 hours in 2019 to over 4 hours in 2022. 8 in 10 people (81%) say their smartphone keeps them up at night.

How many people have internet access in the UK?

There are approximately 66.1 million internet users in the UK, which equates to almost 98% of the population. However, only 93% of UK households have access to the internet at home, meaning that 7% do not. Interestingly, almost 1 in 5 internet users (18%) only go online via a smartphone.

The percentage of those without home access to the internet increases with age. While between 0% and 2% of 16- to 54-year-olds are without access, 7% of those aged 55-64 are without access. More significantly, 1 in 4 people (25%) aged 65 and over do not have access to the internet at home.

Year Percentage of households with internet access at home
2022 93%
2021 94%
2020 92%
2019 92%
2018 90%
2017 90%
2016 89%
2015 86%
2014 84%
2013 83%
2012 80%
2011 77%
2010 73%
2009 70%
2008 65%
2007 61%
2006 57%
2005 55%
2004 49%
2003 46%
2002 42%
2001 36%
2000 25%
1999 13%
1998 9%

Overall, the most popular apps are banking apps, with three-quarters (76%) of those with smartphones using these in the UK. Messaging apps come in second place as 7 in 10 smartphone users use WhatsApp, Messenger and other similar apps.

Two-thirds of smartphone users have social media apps, while 63% make use of maps or other navigation apps. Shopping apps such as Amazon, eBay or Ocado are also popular, with three-fifths (61%) using these on their smartphones.

App type Percentage of smartphone users
Banking 76%
Messaging apps 71%
Social media 67%
Maps and navigations 63%
Shopping 61%
Music streaming 49%
Payment services 48%
Food delivery 46%
News 44%
TV and video 41%
Games 39%
Travel and transport 33%
Fitness and health 30%

Banking apps and messaging apps are the most popular among those aged 35 to 54, whilst banking apps and social media apps like Snapchat and Tiktok are most popular among those aged between 16 and 34. For those aged 55 and over, messaging apps are the most popular type, although their usage of apps is overall a lot lower than their younger counterparts.

App 16-24 users 25-34 users 35-54 users 55+ users 65+ users
Banking 84 90 83 56 46
Social media 82% 82% 73% 47% 36%
Messaging apps 78% 79% 77% 59% 51%
Music streaming 68% 60% 54% 29% 19%
Shopping 67% 72% 69% 44% 37%
Food delivery 67% 63% 50% 24% 18%
Maps and navigations 63% 72% 70% 50% 43%
Payment services 63% 62% 54% 28% 21%
Games 62% 46% 44% 22% 18%
TV and video 53% 52% 46% 24% 17%
News 44% 46% 51% 36% 32%
Travel and transport 41% 41% 38% 21% 14%
Fitness and health 35% 38% 37% 17% 11%

What do we use our mobile phones for?

Using your phone to make calls is the most popular use of a mobile phone for all ages, as an average of 93% of those aged 16 and over use their phones to make calls. Texting is another popular use of phones, with an average of 91% of people using their phone for this reason.

Those aged 65 and over prefer to make calls on their phone rather than text, as 95% make calls while 87% use their phone for texting.

What do you use your phone for? 16-24 25-34 35-54 55+ 65+
Texting 91% 93% 95% 90% 87%
Making calls 90% 93% 94% 94% 95%
Internet browsing 89% 91% 88% 63% 51%
Taking photos/videos 87% 91% 89% 72% 63%
Using social media 69% 73% 63% 34% 25%
Emails 68% 73% 74% 50% 41%
Listening to music 65% 61% 50% 23% 14%
News 55% 65% 67% 45% 37%

How many hours a week do people spend online?

Three-fifths of UK adults spend 15 or more hours online per week in 2023, while a further third (34%) spend between 14 hours or less online. Only 2% of the population spends no time whatsoever online in a typical week.

When it comes to hours spent online by age group, three-fifths (60%) of 16- to 24-year-olds report going online for 23 hours or more, and a further 19% spend 15-22 hours a week online. On the other hand, less than 1 in 5 (18%) of those aged 65 and over spend 23 hours or more online in a week, and the majority (61%) spend 14 hours or less online.

Hours spent online in 2023 Percentage
Over 50 hours 11%
40-49 hours 10%
30-39 hours 12%
23-29 hours 12%
15-22 hours 15%
8-14 hours 17%
Up to 7 17%
None 2%

EE is the most popular mobile network, with almost 1 in 4 people (23%) using it. They are closely followed by O2, which has almost 1 in 5 (18%) people using it. 14% of Brits choose Vodafone as their main mobile network provider, while 1 in 10 (9%) opt for Three.

Mobile network Percentage of people using it
EE 23%
O2 18%
Vodafone 14%
Three 9%
Tesco 6%
Giffgaff 5%
Sky Mobile 5%
Virgin 4%
Asda Mobile 3%
BT 3%

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact –

Matt Mckenna
UK Head of Communications
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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Matthew Boyle is a banking and mortgages publisher at Finder. He has a 7-year history of publishing helpful guides to assist consumers in making better decisions. In his spare time, you will find him walking in the Norfolk countryside admiring the local wildlife. See full bio

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Matthew has written 244 Finder guides across topics including:
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Sophie Barber is a content marketing manager for Finder in the UK after previously working as a content manager at a digital marketing agency. She has over 5 years experience in writing and publishing clear, concise and informative online articles for a variety of websites. See full bio

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Sophie has written 66 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Publishing original personal finance research
  • Creating data-led statistics pages to highlight industry trends
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