The smartphone reigns supreme as the Americans’ choice for online activities, a new survey shows.

So much so, that an estimated 270 million American smartphone users now find themselves checking their devices 52 times a day, according to Deloitte’s US edition of the 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey.

Smartphone penetration has now reached 85% of the US population, a rise of 3% from 2017. The strongest growth has been in people aged over 45, the report found.

The device now controls and monitors many people’s daily activities, and this reliance comes at a price, with 39% of those surveyed saying they worry they are overusing their phones.

This concern is most pronounced among younger people – 60% of 18 to 34-year-olds admitted to what they felt was phone overuse. Of the 63% who have tried to cut down their usage, half said they have been successful.

The survey also showed an increasing blurring of the line between work and leisure use, with 70% of people saying they use personal phones for after-hours work-related activities at least occasionally.

There is clear evidence in the survey that a number of mobile technology trends have gained momentum in the past year. One standout is the effect of voice assistants, which many observers believe will be the next big thing in human-computer interaction.

Nearly two-thirds of users (64%) said they use voice assistants on their phones – up from 53% in 2017; and nearly half (46%) of those surveyed said they’d used this function in the last week. Almost a third (30%) said they’d used it within the last day.

Voice-assisted speakers are still the most often used device for voice-controlled activities, however 69% said they used a voice-assisted speaker weekly and 47% did so on a daily basis. That’s more than any other type of device.

“This year’s survey really advances the story of smartphones as the true center of our lives, both inside and outside the home,” said Kevin Westcott, vice chairman and US telecommunications, media and entertainment sector leader at Deloitte.

At the same time, however, people are increasingly aware of data and privacy issues. Some 80% had concerns about how companies use their data and whether it is stored securely. And compared to last year, consumers were 14% less likely to share photos and contacts with companies they interact with.

Sourced from Deloitte; additional content by WARC staff