The UK is now the world leader when it comes to mobile web use according to a new report by the country’s media regulator Ofcom. Brits now watch more television online, spend more on internet shopping and use tablets to access the web more than any other population.

The report, which compared data from 17 of the world’s leading economies, showed the UK leapfrogging Japan at the top of the list thanks to an obsession with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and online music services. The amount of data Brits download per month on tablets and mobiles now stands at 424 megabytes, more than 60 percent up on a year ago. In total, 16 percent of all website traffic in the UK comes from mobile devices.

“Our research reveals that the UK leads the way in using the internet on the move. Increasingly, it’s mobile devices like smartphones and tablets that are driving this growing demand for data – and in the UK it seems to be social networking sites that are behind this in particular,” stated Ofcom’s director of research James Thickett.

British 18-24-year-olds are the world’s top mobile social networkers with 62 percent accessing their profiles from smartphones and tablets, a larger proportion than any other country surveyed.

Internet shopping in the UK also topped the charts with consumers now spending an average of £1,083 online, almost £250 more per person than second placed Australia. A total of 23 percent of Brits have visited a retail website on their mobile phones, the highest percentage in Europe.

According to Ofcom a cultural habit of catalogue shopping, high credit card take-up and the early arrival in the UK of internet giants such as Amazon and eBay are reasons behind the high level of internet shopping in the country.

The Ofcom report, known as the International Communications Market Report, is an annual survey, which compares data across 17 countries including the UK, France, Germany, Spain, USA, Italy, Australia, Japan, Brazil and China.

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