UK housewives spend more of their free time online than any other group, according to a new report.

A survey of more than 27,000 web users in 16 different countries found that the average housewife in Britain spends 47% of their leisure time online – although people in the UK overall spend just 28% of their free time on the internet.

Market research group TNS complied the report which revealed that out of 27,522 people aged between 18 and 55, those in the Far East that were the biggest internet users overall. China, a country infamous for internet censorship, topped the survey with the average person spending 44% of their leisure time online. That figure rises to 50% when the responses of those under 25 were considered on their own.

South Korean’s spent 40% of their time online, with Japanese users dedicating 38% of their free time to surfing the net.

In Europe, Italian’s were the keenest internet users by spending 31% of their leisure time online, ahead of Spain (29%) with the UK and France on 28%.

Internet users in Germany were considered to be the most “sociable” in the report, with 76% of respondents claiming to have arranged to meet someone in person after meeting them online. Users in China were the least likely to turn a virtual encounter into a personal one, with just 40% admitting to following up an online meeting.

“What comes out in this survey is that we are actively engaging with people online, but we haven’t lost the knack for conventional social contact,” said Arno Hummerston, managing director of TNS.

“At the same time, online acquaintances are now perceived by most of us as real acquaintances.”

How much leisure time do you spend on the internet?
China 44%
South Korea 40%
Japan 38%
Italy 31%
US 30%
Australia 29%
Spain 29%
Canada 28%
UK 28%
France 28%
Germany 23%
Norway 22%
Netherlands 19%
Sweden 18%
Finland 16%
Denmark 15%

Have you met in person with someone you first met online?
Germany 76%
France 75%
Sweden 75%
Denmark 74%
Norway 73%
Finland 69%
Canada 66%
Spain 66%
Italy 65%
Australia 64%
Japan 64%
UK 58%
Netherlands 57%
South Korea 56%
US 56%
China 40%

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