Deloitte survey reveals how addicted we are to smartphones

We're all obsesssed with our smartphones - well 11 million of us are anyway

David Taylor, far left, a director at Deloitte in Newcastle
David Taylor, far left, a director at Deloitte in Newcastle

A third of obsessed smartphone users look at their device within five minutes of waking up, research has revealed.

Business advisors Deloitte discovered 11 million UK adults almost immediately check their phones for updates, in a survey analysing UK mobile phone usage habits.

A fifth of respondents considered network quality for internet use as more important than network quality for phone calls.

Only a fifth of respondents with 4G has watched more video since subscribing to 4G, compared to 49% in 2013.

And 67% of 18 to 24-year-olds check their devices within 15 minutes of getting out of bed.

Most smartphone owners – 33% – first check their text messages, but 25% of users go to their email first, while 14% get straight onto social networks.

Deloitte’s research shows people can’t leave their phones alone once awake with about one in six of us looking at them more than 50 times a day.

The 18 to 24-year-old age group are the most intensive users, checking their device on average 53 times a day and for 13% the figure is more than 100 times.

Steve Parsons/PA Wire A person using their mobile phone
A person using their mobile phone

In comparison 65 to 75-year-olds only check their device a mere 13 times a day on average and 56% less than 10 times.

David Taylor, director at Deloitte in the North East, comments: “Mobile phones have clearly become something of an addiction for many and has led to some people looking to unplug their devices and undergo a digital detox.

“In the UK there are now digital detox camps where you surrender your phone to experience ‘life off the grid’, following the trend in Silicon Valley.”

When consumers were asked about why they may change their mobile network provider in the future, network quality for internet use (20%) was more important than network quality for phone calls (16%) for smartphone owners.

Paul Lee, head of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte, adds: “The smartphone has rapidly become the device that many of us cannot live without.

“The demand for uninterrupted internet connectivity will increase as what we do with our phones becomes ever more important.

“Mobile operators need to ensure their networks can support these critical devices.”

Poor video take-up could be related to fears about data allowances: about a quarter of 4G subscribers have a data allowance of less than one gigabyte which allows approximately one hour of video streaming.

A third of 4G subscribers have a data allowance of between one and three gigabytes.

Lee concluded: “In the short-term, 4G data allowances may continue to inhibit video consumption. Watching video on 4G will remain occasional and used for short video clips rather than films or TV programmes.

“While 4G may not be changing the services for which smartphones are used, it is certainly enhancing the use of existing services.

“Some smartphone users may avoid Wi-Fi networks especially when manual sign-in is required, such as in coffee shops and while commuting. This may create the need for higher data allowances, thus increasing operators’ ability to charge a premium for 4G.”


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