As part of their eleventh Communications Market Report, Ofcom has conducted a research study measuring the confidence and knowledge of communications technology to calculate an individual's 'Digital Quotient' score, or 'DQ', with the average UK adult scoring 100.
The study, among nearly 2,000 adults and 800 children, found that six year olds have the same understanding of digital technology as 45 year olds, while digital confidence seems to go into long-term decline when people reach their 20s, culminating in a steep drop at the age of 60. The graph shows that 60% of people aged 55+ have a below average 'DQ' score.
According to Ofcom, the ‘millennium generation’ of 14 and 15 year olds are the most tech-savvy in the UK with the highest score of 113. The research suggests that this mid-teen peak is due to increased broadband and digital communications access while growing up.
More time online than asleep
The difference in score is reflected in shifting communication habits, with younger consumers embracing newer technology and taking advantage of mobile devices. Children aged 12 to 15 are less likely to talk on the phone, with the vast majority (94 per cent) of their communications seeming to be text-based via instant message such as whatsapp and social media services such as Facebook.
In contrast, UK adults spend a fifth of their communication time speaking on the phone and a third on email. On average, UK adults now spend 8 hours 41 minutes using media and communications - more time than they spend sleeping!
“The communication habits of all ages are shifting as they embrace newer services and take advantage of portable connected devices,” says Ofcom.
Communication and media habits
- More than six million consumers have 4G mobile subscriptions out of a total 55 million
- 4 in 10 households now have a tablet, up from a quarter a year ago, while 61 per cent have a smartphone
- Total communications revenue was unchanged at £60.2bn in 2013, although average per household fell to £117.08 with the largest decrease in mobile services
- TV viewership dropped below four hours per day for the first time since 2009
- The UK TV industry generated £12.9bn in 2013, up 3.4 per cent mainly due to higher spending on sports channels