Britons spend 28% of their free time onlinePoll reveals habits of British internet users

02 January 2009

A couple surfing the internet

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An international poll of 27,500 internet users - including around 2,500 Britons - has revealed we spend 28% of our spare time surfing the web.

The research carried out by TNS shows the amount of free time each British internet user spends surfing is just under the global average of 29%.

It also shows housewives spend 47% of their free time online, while student internet users clocked up 39%, and unemployed internet users 32%. 

Online habits

The research shows that 80% of internet users from the UK have used a search engine, 76% of users have banked online, and 66% of users had paid a bill online. 

A total of 33% said they used the internet to share photos, 32% claimed that they had used the internet to download music, while 22% stated they had sold something online through an auction site such as Ebay.

And 60% claimed to have used a price comparison site such as PriceRunner.

Social networking

The research suggests that 37% of British internet users have visited a social networking site, and that on average, a British social networker has 17 friends that were met online.

Arno Hummerston, managing director of TNS Global Interactive, said: 'Being online helps people fulfil certain tasks and activities quickly and efficiently. By spending productive time online, we are making more time for leisure. With more social and entertainment activities online, it is also easy to understand why our lives are becoming more digital.'

The poll was conducted through online interviews of 18-55 year olds in 16 nations.

Ben Stevens, Which? researcher, said: 'As the poll was conducted online, we can't assume these figures are reflective of the whole nation's attitude towards the internet, as it only reflects the habits of Britons who have access to the web in their free time. The Office for National Statistics claims that 16 million homes in the UK have internet access, which is around 65% of British homes.'

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