Eye-opening stats reveal the extent of our smartphone dependency

A new study says the craving for a constant mobile presence makes us feel connected more than it causes loneliness or anxiety.


Have you ever resolved not to glance at your smartphone?

“For the next 10 minutes, I’m keeping this device in my pocket,” you tell yourself.

Slowly, a minute passes. You reach for the phone, stopping to remind yourself of the agreement—10 minutes. But you compromise, “OK, five minutes.”

Mere seconds pass, and your resolve crumbles. You consider everything you’ve missed in the last 90 seconds: the emails and texts, the Facebook updates, Instagram pics, and myriad tweets. And then you cave—reaching for the phone like a relapsed smoker who’s sworn he puffed his last Marlboro.

If any of this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Smartphone owners ages 18 to 44 spend more than two hours a day communicating and using social media on their devices, according to a new IDC Research report. Eighty percent check their smartphones within 15 minutes of waking up.

For the report, IDC conducted an online survey of 7,444 Android and iPhone users, ages 18 to 44, during a week in March. The age group is limited because it represents the highest levels of ownership across mobile devices, according to Danielle Levitas, a senior analyst at IDC Research.

“We know people are using these devices at a phenomenal rate,” Levitas said. “They’re multifunctional—for productivity, communications, entertainment.

“It’s an exciting time,” she added.

Despite the hours we dedicate to our phones each day, the smartphone users surveyed don’t associate their devices with feeling stressed out or lonely as much as they do with feelings of “connectedness” and “productivity.”

Here are some eye-opening numbers from the report, which Facebook sponsored:

49 percent of the entire U.S. population uses a smartphone, according to previous research from IDC. By 2017, the percent of smartphone users is expected to reach 68 percent.

132 minutes is the average amount of time each day that smartphone users spend communicating and using social media on their phones. Over the weekend, Friday through Sunday, that number increases to 163 minutes. Monday through Thursday, it drops to 87 minutes.

70 percent of smartphone users check Facebook on their phones; 61 percent check it every day. The average number of times respondents check Facebook on their phones is 14.

50 percent of smartphone users check Facebook at the movies.

Four out of five smartphone users check their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up. Among them, 80 percent say it’s the first thing they do in the morning.

79 percent of smartphone users have their phone on or near them for all but two hours of their waking day—63 percent keep it with them for all but one hour. One-fourth couldn’t recall a time of the day when their phone wasn’t in the same room as them.

When asked which activity on a smartphone makes them feel most “connected,” 49 percent said text messaging, 43 percent indicating talking on the phone, 40 percent said messaging on Facebook.

61 percent said their smartphones keep them connected to their friends. Nearly the same, 60 percent say it connects them to their spouse/significant other.

7.4 is the average number of social/communication apps that smartphone users have on their phones.

The 10 most popular apps on smartphones are:

1. Email
2. Web browsing
3. Facebook
4. Maps/directions
5. Games
6. General search
7. Share/post photos
8. Read news, sports
9. Local search
10. Watch TV/video

The most common sentiment regarding smartphone is one of “connectedness,” far surpassing “overwhelmed,” “stressed out,” “burdened/anxious,” or “lonely.”

Can you relate to these findings?

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