Telephone Talk Takes A Week A Year

Despite the rise in texts, emails and social media communication, the average person in the UK spends 184 hours speaking on the telephone every year, equivalent to seven and a half days.* Over a lifetime this equates to more than one and a half years of telephone conversation** according to new research from Post Office® HomePhone.

The Post Office asked 2,000 people about their telephone habits. Inevitably, family and friends topped the table of the most commonly called people. One in five (20 per cent) men admitted to enjoying a good gossip about friends and family, compared to 37 per cent of women. Five per cent of men even revealed that they call their mistress more than their grandparents.

Calls to utility companies, the dentist and doctor were rated as the least favourite phone conversations. However, dads also proved unpopular with one in ten (10 per cent) people who said that they least like to call their father. Only five per cent of people regularly call their grandparents.

Proving that telephone conversations still have a place alongside other popular communication methods, top reasons for picking up the phone include:

Over a quarter (26 per cent) said that they get immediate answers on the phone rather than waiting for email or social media replies

38 per cent of people use telephone conversation as a form of release, to share their problems and worries and get everything off their chests

A third of people (33 per cent) believe it’s the most convenient way to make plans

18 per cent of people simply enjoy chatting on the phone

One in ten people (10 per cent) chat to friends online but still like to have a proper voice conversation.

For some people in the UK, their phone is their only link to the outside world. One in twenty people (four per cent) said that a telephone conversation is their only form of contact with people throughout the day.

Most popular topics covered in phone conversations are:

Over half of people (57 per cent) pick up the phone to share good news
Four in ten people (40 per cent) call for a general catch up
A third call to gossip (30 per cent)
Just under a third phone friends and family to tell them bad news (29 per cent)
One fifth call to make plans to meet up (22 per cent)

Hugh Stacey, Head of Telephony at the Post Office said: “Although there are other ways of catching up with friends and family now, we still spend an incredible amount of time on the phone. Quality conversation seems to be central to today’s phone calls too, with many people phoning friends for a good chat as well as to make arrangements.

“We want to help people carry on chatting on the phone so we’ve kept free calls as a core part of our HomePhone package. We have free calls to UK landlines from 6pm every night (which is when 29 per cent of people make their phone calls), free calls to UK landlines and UK mobiles at the weekend, and also free calls to over 40 destinations at the weekend, meaning customers don’t have to worry about the cost of conversations.”

For more information on Post Office HomePhone visit or pop into your nearest branch.


All figures unless otherwise stated taken from research carried out by One Poll on behalf of Post Office HomePhone among 2,000 UK adults between 2 – 4 March 2011.

*Average time a person spends on the phone a day (30.37 minutes) multiplied by 365 (days of the year) equals 11085 minutes. Divided by 60 equals 184 hours a year
**The average life expectancy age across a man and a woman (79.8 years – UK life expectancy for men (77.7) and women (81.9) Office for National Statistics, 30 September 2010) multiplied by 184 hours a year calculates to one and a half years in a lifetime on the telephone.

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