Britons spend less time talking on mobiles: study

The amount of time that Britons spend talking on their mobile phones has dropped for the first time -- by one billion minutes, a new Ofcom report revealed on Wednesday.

Britons spent 125 billion minutes talking on their mobile phones in 2010, compared to 124 billion last year, the watchdog's Communications Market Report showed.

Instead, text messaging has become the most popular form of daily communication between British adults, the figures revealed, with the average Briton sending 200 texts a month -- more than double the figure from 2008.

More than half of UK adults (58%) reported using texts at least once a day to communicate with their family and friends, whereas the figure for mobile phone calls was 47%.

Face-to-face conversations were the second most popular form of daily contact for British adults at 49%.

The figure for social networks such as Facebook or Twitter was 33%, making them the least popular form of daily contact covered by the study.

However use of social networks was increasing, with the report showing that British adults spent 3.3 hours a month social networking on a PC or laptop in 2011, up from 3.1 hours in 2010.

Despite the popularity of text messages, the overwhelming majority of Britons said they would prefer to see their loved ones in person (67%) or speak on the phone (10%).

However the trend looks set to continue. Some 90% of 16 to 24-year-olds said they use text messaging at least once a day to communicate with friends and family, followed by social networking (74%) and mobile phone calls (67%).

The figure for face-to-face contact among that demographic was 63%, making it the least popular form of communication for that age group -- though it was still higher than among adults.

"New forms of communications are emerging which don't require us to talk to each other - especially among younger age groups," James Thickett, Ofcom's director of research said.

"This trend is set to continue as technology advances and we move further into the digital age."

The report also showed that ownership of tablets such as Apple's iPad and Samsung's Galaxy Tab has shot up from 2% of UK households in 2011 to 11% in the first quarter this year.