[INSIGHTS]: Online Nation 2023 Report: A Comprehensive Overview of the UK’s Digital Landscape

ABOUT: UK’s digital engagement surges in 2023, with Alphabet and Meta dominating the online space.

LINK: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0029/272288/online-nation-2023-report.pdf

SUMMARY: The “Online Nation 2023 Report” provides an in-depth analysis of the UK’s digital landscape, highlighting key trends in internet usage, popular online platforms, and emerging challenges. The report covers the widespread use of smartphones for internet access, the prevalence of Alphabet and Meta-owned platforms, and the significant role of YouTube across different age groups. It also discusses the challenges of internet affordability, the growing use of VPNs, and the critical issue of online misinformation and harmful content.


  1. UK adults spent an average of 3 hours 41 minutes online daily in May 2023, an increase from 2022.
  2. The most time online was spent by 18-24-year-olds, averaging 4 hours 36 minutes daily.
  3. 76% of online time by UK adults in May 2023 was on smartphones.
  4. Internet use on apps increased to 77% in May 2023, with 89% of smartphone time on apps.
  5. 7% of UK individuals aged 16+ lack home internet access, primarily due to affordability issues.
  6. Alphabet and Meta-owned sites are the most visited by UK adults, followed by Amazon.
  7. YouTube is the highest-reaching Alphabet-owned service among both children and adults in the UK.
  8. Google Search and Gmail are among the most popular Alphabet services.
  9. Misinformation is a significant online harm encountered by UK adults, often related to politics.
  10. The prevalence of hate speech online is a concern, with 23% of adults encountering it.
  11. Children’s online safety is addressed through technical controls and parental guidance.
  12. The report underscores the importance of awareness and action against potentially harmful content.
See also  [INSIGHTS]: Vulnerability - Adviser Support Toolkit


  • 47.9 million UK adults accessed the internet in May 2023.
  • Time spent on computers and tablets declined, with only 30 minutes on computers and 23 minutes on tablets daily.
  • 26% of UK internet users aged 16+ have used a VPN.
  • 68% of UK children aged 8-12 visited Bytedance Inc. (TikTok) sites and apps.
  • 85% of children aged 8-12 visited the main YouTube service, but not YouTube Kids.
  • 39% of adults encountered misinformation online in the past four weeks.


  • The UK’s digital landscape in 2023 is characterized by a significant increase in online engagement, especially among young adults.
  • Alphabet and Meta’s dominance in the online space highlights the central role of a few major tech companies.
  • The reliance on smartphones for internet access underscores the importance of mobile platforms in digital strategies.
  • Affordability remains a barrier to internet access, affecting vulnerable populations.
  • Misinformation and hate speech are prevalent online challenges that need continuous monitoring and intervention.
  • Online safety, especially for children, is a critical issue that requires both technical solutions and parental involvement.

RO-AR insider newsletter

Receive notifications of new RO-AR content notifications: Also subscribe here - unsubscribe anytime