CPA INSIDER

Guess how often you use your phone every day

Recent research from Deloitte shows just how much we use our smartphones.
By Anslee Wolfe

Forty-seven. That's how many times the average consumer is likely to check his or her smartphone today.

The exception is those between the ages of 18 and 24. They check their phones even more — 86 times a day, according to Deloitte's 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey: U.S. edition, released in December.

We're addicted to our phones, researchers say. Most of us reach for them soon after waking up and just before going to bed. A device that lets us call, text, read, watch, and browse is often too hard to resist.

An estimated 264 million Americans own smartphones, according to the survey. While the number of times we consult them daily has remained steady during the past three years, we collectively look at them an astounding amount, more than 12 billion times a day.

"The fundamental reason that we all are addicted to and use our smartphones so much is because of the value they provide in our daily lives in a way that no single device ever has come close to doing," said Craig Wigginton, a U.S. vice chairman and telecommunications sector leader with Deloitte & Touche LLP.

But of the 2,000 U.S.-based consumers between the ages of 18 and 75 who were surveyed, 47% think they use their phones too much.

Other findings include:

  • People are finding a balance for when they use their phones in social situations such as shopping, dining, and meeting with friends. This device etiquette means users are trying to reduce how much they are on their phones to be more in tune with those around them.
  • The older generation is beginning to mirror the ownership and usage traits of younger users. While those ages 18 to 24 have the highest ownership at 93%, people 55 years and older have accounted for the strongest growth during the past two years.
  • While many people are unaware of machine learning technology, 68% are already using some form of it on their phones. The most used was predictive text, driving route suggestions, and voice assistants.
  • All of the ways we use our phones to communicate have increased — most notably voice calls, up to 86% after a four-year decline. Texting was the most popular at 91%, followed by voice calls, emails at 81%, social networks at 72%, and video calls at 30%.

While our ubiquitous wireless connections bring us closer together, whether for work or for fun, smartphones also offer us comfort in knowing we can reach out when we want and be reached when we are needed, said Wigginton, who led the survey.

But like many good things, he said, while it gives us access to everything, including flexibility in our lives, it's also good to have a balance.

"As more people begin to adopt a more balanced usage etiquette and realize that while it's great to be in touch with people who are across the world," Wigginton said, "it's also important to be present for the friends and family sitting across the table."

Anslee Wolfe is a freelance writer in Colorado Springs, Colo. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Chris Baysden, senior manager of newsletters at the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants.

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