Smartphone addiction reaches epidemic proportions as overuse causes domestic problems
People in the UK have never been more addicted to their smartphones, according to a report from Deloitte. One in three adults check for messages at night, and admit their overuse is causing rows with their partners.
For some, FOMO – or the fear of missing out – leaves them in the grip of an addiction to their devices, according to the survey.
“What smartphones enable people to do is to keep tags of what’s happening, what people are saying, what people are posting. You can do that throughout the day and what smartphones are encouraging people to do is to do that at night,” Paul Lee, head of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte told Today.
But Mr Lee said the overuse was a “temporary thing” driven by the relative newness of smartphones.
“We’re getting used to how to use this tech which let’s remind ourselves is just nine years old. When we have something new we tend to overreact to it,” he added.
Deloitte’s Key findings:
- One in three UK adults has argued with their partner about using their mobile phone too much, according to Deloitte.
- The rows were most common among 25-34 year olds the report found, while 11% of over 65s admitted arguments about overusing phones.
- About a tenth of respondents admitted using their handsets “always” or “very often” while eating at home or in restaurants.
- A third said they regularly used their devices while with friends or watching television.
- One in three UK adults – and half of 18-24 year olds – said they checked their phones in the middle of the night, with instant messaging and social media the most popular activities.
- One in 10 smartphone owners admitted reaching for their phone as soon as they woke up – with a third grabbing the device within five minutes of waking.
Deloitte’s sixth annual Mobile Consumer Survey analysed the mobile phone habits of more than 4,000 UK consumers.
Four out of five UK adults now have a smartphone – equivalent to 37 million people – but despite their popularity, the report warned the smartphone market was reaching saturation point.
Growth in new users slowed to 7% in the year to June 2016, from 9% in the previous 12 months.
And according to the study, only a fifth of adults using feature phones said they planned to trade up to a smartphone.
“It is clear from our research that we are reaching an age of ‘peak smartphone'”, Mr Lee said.
“Given the market saturation, in the next 12 months, we expect smartphone penetration to rise modestly, perhaps by no more than two or four percentage points,”
But while producers of some other handheld gadgets have struggled to persuade users to keep buying newer models, this is not a problem phone manufacturers will face, the report predicts.
“Smartphones will not suffer the same fate as tablets. The replacement market is likely to remain healthy, and given the sizeable base of existing owners, smartphone sales are likely to remain in the tens of millions for the foreseeable future,” Mr Lee said.