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UK internet use at record levels as digital interactions peak

© Andrea Piacquadio

The UK’s surging internet use has broken records following a dramatic increase in content consumption online.

According to the latest figures released by regulator Ofcom, UK internet use reached a record high in April, with people spending an average of at least 4 hours online a day. This exceeded the September peak of 3.5 hours back in 2019.

Among the top rising demographics was 18- to 24-year-olds who spent an additional hour on average during the month of April online.

Some of the fastest rising platforms in use were TikTok and Epic Games’ Houseparty which experienced massive growth from 175,000 active users to 4 million. Zoom also saw the biggest surge of activity, reaching 13 million adult internet users which is an increase of more than 12.3 million users since January 2020.

The data shows the scale of the impact on people’s internet habits and usage during the lockdown while schools were closed and people worked from home. Compounding the trend was social distancing and restrictions on travel, driving further internet usage as people opted to stay at home and cancel all but essential activities.

In comparison to 2019 statistics, the new data shows a dramatic change in consumption habits and the use of social media, internet search and live streaming. With gaming and movie streaming also forming a sizeable share of people’s digital footprint, the trend demonstrates the impact the pandemic has had on adults of all ages – and which platforms have been the most popular.

In the coming months, more figures will be released showing new internet usage habits and whether the UK will continue its record-high internet consumption – or if indeed this is a one-off effect of the pandemic.