Britons check their phones on waking

8 September 2014

LONDON: A third of British smartphone users check their device within five minutes of waking up, new research into UK mobile usage behaviour has revealed.

That equates to 11m people, according to a survey of 4,000 UK adults by professional services firm Deloitte, which also found two-thirds of 18-24 year-olds check their mobiles within the first 15 minutes of the day.

Finding out if anyone has tried to contact them overnight is the waking routine for most smartphone users – a third check their text messages first thing in the morning, but a quarter first read their emails and 14% access their social networks.

Once awake, one-in-six UK smartphone owners then use their device more than 50 times during the course of the day, the report said.

18-24 year-olds are the most prolific users, making checks 53 times a day on average, with 13% of them checking more than 100 times a day. By contrast, 65-75 year-olds check their device just 13 times a day.

"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," said Ed Marsden, lead telecoms partner at Deloitte, in a reference to "digital detox camps" where people surrender their device to experience "life off the grid".

The report also looked into the reasons why respondents might want to change their mobile network provider as well as their usage of applications on 4G devices.

It found a fifth (20%) of respondents consider network quality for internet use as more important than network quality for phone calls (16%), a sign that mobile operators need to meet demand for uninterrupted internet connectivity.

And email and social networks have overtaken video as the applications that are most used on 4G, the report said.

So much so that video has dropped from the most frequently used application in 2013 to the seventh, which Deloitte suggested is connected to users' concern about data allowances.

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

Data sourced from Deloitte; additional content by Warc staff