Which? uses cookies to improve our sites and by continuing you agree to our cookies policy

Britons spend 28% of their free time online

Poll reveals habits of British internet users

A couple surfing the internet

Save time by using our quick picks

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.’

Check out the Which? Broadband review to find the best Internet Service Provider. We have around 148 packages on test, from around 30 providers.

RSS Feed

For daily consumer news, subscribe to the here. If you have an older web browser you may need to copy and paste this link into your newsreader: https://www.which.co.uk/feeds/reviews/news.xml . Find out more about RSS in the Which? guide to news feeds.

Sign up to the Which? weekly technology email

Keep your finger on the pulse of digital technology with the weekly email from the Which? Technology team. Every Tuesday we’ll send you the latest news and reviews of MP3 players, mobile phones, cameras, high-definition TVs and other gadgets. Packed with the latest product launches, First Look reviews, expert advice and some incredible deals – can you afford not to be the first to find out?

Back to top