At this point, smartphone addiction is a pretty well understood phenomenon, even if we sometimes feel powerless to do much about it. Everything seems to be going in one direction — more and more of our lives are caught up in our phones and what we do on them, which means we spend more and more time each day tied to them.
Such that the biggest tech companies are now starting to make noise about various digital wellness initiatives meant to break us of these habits, at least a bit. For now, though, the trend continues uninterrupted. Indeed, Deloitte’s 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey found that Americans are spending more time tied to their mobile devices than ever before. In terms of what that looks like in hard numbers: Americans are now checking their smartphones, collectively, about 14 billion times a day. Which works out to an average of 52 looks per user, according to the survey.
Among some of the reasons for that — the Deloitte data found that consumers are increasingly relying on smartphones as their primary hub, with 20 percent of US adults now using them as their primary form of online access at home instead of a traditional broadband service. Also, younger demographics are approaching saturation levels when it comes to the percentage of smartphone usage, with a 94 percent smartphone penetration rate this year among 18- to 24-year-olds.
“Across virtually all age groups, however, US consumers are viewing their smartphones more often than ever before,” the survey reports. “US smartphone owners now look at their phones an average of 52 times daily — an increase of about 6 percent over last year. As a result, 39 percent of US consumers think they use their smartphones too much. And, contrary to the common perception, 60 percent of 18- to 34-year- olds admit to smartphone overuse, the highest level of any age group. What’s more, 63 percent of US consumers report they’re trying to limit their smartphone usage — but only a little more than half of that percentage (32 percent) are succeeding in cutting back.”
The one thing that hasn’t changed is the appeal of smartphones as a device category, whether the phones are old, new or even secondhand devices. More than 80 percent of smartphone owners reported buying their latest device within the last two years, according to the Deloitte data. And, no surprise, younger users especially aged 18 to 44 tend to replace their phone sooner than other age groups.
“One major story remained unchanged from our previous survey,” the report notes. “The smartphone’s position at the center of the mobile universe. The smartphone continues to reign supreme as consumers’ preferred device for most online actions, as well as for controlling and monitoring a host of daily activities.”