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What's up Next for UK Teens with Smartphones? Tablets

One-third of UK teen smartphone owners now have a tablet

UK teens are no longer content with one smart device—they’re now adding multiple ones to their collection. In a November 2013 study by YouGov, 81% of 13-to-18-year-old mobile phone owners had a smartphone. Among that group, around one-third also had a tablet, and more than one-quarter had access to such a device in their home.

Gaming—a popular activity on tablets for users of almost any age—was by far the most popular activity conducted by UK teen tablet users polled. However, usage varied by age, with younger users more likely to play games. Chatting and instant messaging were also popular activities, but usage decreased with age. Older users were more likely than youngsters to check emails and purchase products and services on their tablets, likely due to the fact that such activities become more common with age.

According to June 2013 research by the UK’s Office of Communications (Ofcom), the peak use of tablets may occur before the ages studied by YouGov. Ofcom found that internet usage on a tablet peaked between the ages of 8 and 11, at 27%, before dropping back to 22% for 12- to 15-year-olds. This was the only device to decline in popularity with age, with the PC/laptop the clear favorite among all groups.

The fall in tablets’ popularity was most likely due to the increasing use of mobile phones with age—which are personal to the child and not shared devices, as is common in families with young children.

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