Internet users spent 65% more time online in April 2010 (884 million hours) than they did in April 2007 (536 million hours), and the way in which this time has been allocated across different sectors has changed dramatically.
One in every four and a half UK minutes online is accounted for by social networks & blogs, with the sector having grown to account for almost 23% of UK internet time (176 million hours).
Only the Coupons/Rewards (516 percent) and Food & Cooking (363 percent) sectors have seen larger relative growth in total time.
News sites are also proving increasingly popular, with total time rising 212% to 22 million hours. Consequently, news sites account for 2.8 percent of online time compared to 1.5 percent three years ago – a relative increase in share of 84 percent.
Email and online games have also leapfrogged instant messaging (IM) in last three years. Many predicted e-mail would be another casualty of the rise in social networking, but it has actually increased its share of online time from 6.5% to 7.2% – total UK internet time has almost doubled from 30 to 56 million hours since 2007.
Instant messaging, on the other hand, which led the way in terms of ’hours spent’ three years ago has been the biggest casualty of the rise of Facebook and Twitter.
Like email, the general portals (such as Yahoo! and MSN) are another area that has prospered despite premature obituaries. Britons are spending 87% more time on them than three years ago – 31 million hours in April 2010 compared to 17 million three years ago.