39+ Smartphone Addiction Statistics in 2020
You would have heard of addictions related to smoking, alcohol, drugs, and even gambling, but how familiar are you with smartphone addiction? This set of smartphone addiction statistics is meant to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of this issue that has become a part of most people’s lives in the last few years.
We have divided these statistics into three categories. The first deals with general statistics on smartphone usage, including penetration rates and data related to user engagement with phones.
The second delves deeper into the problem of smartphone addiction, or nomophobia. The final section is a detailed look at phone addiction among the youngest adult users, a group that seems particularly susceptible to this issue.
We are certain that these statistics will reveal important information on this topic, including symptoms and countermeasures.
Key Smartphone Addiction Statistics
- Nearly half of the world’s population will be using smartphones by 2021.
- The average user spends 171 minutes on the phone every day.
- As high as 66% of the smartphone user base shows signs of nomophobia.
- 87% of smartphone users check their phone within an hour of waking or going to sleep.
- 75% of users admit they have texted at least once while driving.
- 58% of smartphone users have attempted to limit their phone usage; 41% have succeeded.
- Young adults use their smartphones roughly twice as much as they estimate to do.
- Suicide risk for teenagers spending five hours a day on electronic devices is 71% higher compared to those spending just one hour daily.
Smartphone Usage Statistics
1. The number of smartphone users globally reached 3 billion in 2018.
Considering a world population of 7.6 billion, the worldwide penetration rate of smartphones in 2018 was believed to be 39.5%. In comparison, the number of people across the world using the internet is 3.9 billion. More than half of the smartphone users reside in the Asia-Pacific region. Moreover, by 2021, the number of smartphone users is expected to rise to 3.76 billion, i.e., nearly half of the world population at the time.
2. The UK has the highest smartphone penetration level in the world, at 82.2%.
Other countries in the top five are the Netherlands (79.3%), Sweden (78.8%), Germany (78.8%), and USA (77%). China has a penetration level of 55.3%, while India is way behind at 27.7%. According to cell phone statistics for 2018, the greatest growth in smartphone usage in the next few years is expected from China and India.
3. Brazil is the country with the highest smartphone usage per person.
The average user in Brazil spends nearly five hours a day on their device. The other countries in the top five are China, USA, Italy, and Spain. The average time for people on their phones in the US is four hours a day (including tablets). As these devices become more integrated into our personal and digital lives, this increase in time is a depiction of both culture and technology shift.
4. How often do people check their phones? On average, 63 times a day.
This is an increase of 16 times over 2018. Almost 86% of smartphone users will check their device while speaking with friends and family, which is 1% more than the 2018 figure. According to another study, the average smartphone owner unlocks their phone 150 times a day. This constant fidgeting with one’s phone is a sign of low attention spans and heavy dependence on phones.
5. The average smartphone owner in the US checked their phone 52 times a day in 2018.
Thus, smartphone usage in the US shows a lower average figure than the global average. However, this is an increase from 47 times a day in 2017, and the rise is in accordance with the intensification of the trend in all regions where smartphones have high penetration.
6. The average user touches their phone 2,617 times a day.
For people who qualify as “heavy users”—roughly 10% of total smartphone users—this number is much higher – at 5,427 times a day. Interestingly, 60% of Americans, according to a survey by KDA Engineering, think they touch their phones 100 times or less in a day. As we will see in some other phone addiction statistics, many users have a shockingly unrealistic idea of the rate at which they engage with their devices, which is part of the problem.
7. The average time spent on smartphones every day is 171 minutes.
That’s 2 hours and 51 minutes. The average time spent on smartphones and tablets is 4 hours and 33 minutes (273 minutes). Many users spend a few minutes every hour on their phones without realizing how quick these minutes add up through the day. So, are phones addictive? These figures already point toward excessive usage, and those that follow should convince you.
8. The average user spends 76 minutes per day on the top five social media apps.
It is not surprising that a significant part of the time spent by most phone users is on social media apps. In fact, it is estimated that an average person will spend more than five years of their life on social media. There is an increasing realization that this time, if better managed, could be utilized in many more productive pursuits.
9. Nomophobia was Cambridge Dictionary’s People’s Word of the Year for 2018.
Voted by users of the dictionary, as well as its social media followers, the word is an indication that people around the world experience this anxiety enough to recognize that they need a name for it. Standing for ‘no mobile phone phobia,’ the word was first coined by YouGov researchers in 2008.
10. 66% of the smartphone using population shows signs of nomophobia.
What percentage of people are addicted to phones? The figures vary a bit, as it is not always possible to detect or diagnose this disorder objectively. However, even a relatively conservative estimate classifies nearly two-thirds of all phone users as phone addicts. With content and other forms of engagement on the phone likely to develop further, this issue could get even more serious if not handled consciously.
11. In the US, search volume related to phone addiction support queries shows a continuous upward trend from 2014 to 2018.
According to cell phone addiction studies, the number of search queries looking for information on phone addiction is considered a proxy for the seriousness of the problem. Such queries have almost doubled from 2014 to 2018. There has been a very slight drop in 2019, but the overall trend indicates both the increasing seriousness of phone addiction as well as the growing realization among users that a solution is required.
12. Indiana and Oklahoma have the highest rates of phone addiction as per 2019 data.
This data is based on the comparison of the highest relative proportion of the state searching for support in terms of managing their phone use, giving an idea of the smartphone addiction percentage in the state. Other states with high local search intent are Utah, Connecticut, and Maryland, while states with the lowest local search intent are Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
13. More than half of smartphone users never switch off their phones.
The fear of missing out (FOMO) makes a large number of smartphone users try to stay connected all the time. With so much happening all around in terms of news, memes, viral videos, social media updates, and more, nomophobia facts indicate that many users do not want to miss out on a single potentially rewarding experience. This often comes at the cost of mental peace and other issues.
14. 58% of smartphone users don’t go one hour without checking their phones.
According to a BoA report, this figure is dangerously high in some parts of the US. For example, 88% of users in California and 96% in New York use their phones at least once every hour. There’s little doubt as to how much concentration such users would be able to accord to their actual work.
15. 71% of smartphone users sleep with or next to their phones.
Incredibly, nomophobia statistics show that 3% of users even sleep with their phone in their hand. This way, even the few hours of rest that any human needs are likely to be disturbed by notifications and messages. The phone has invaded other parts of people’s lives, too, with 40% of people admitting to checking their phones on the toilet, and 12% using their phones in the shower.
16. 44% of smartphone users admit to have been woken up by the noise from their phones.
Almost 41% of users also find the light from their phones disturbing enough to wake them up at night. Approximately 99% of people still use their phone as an alarm clock, which has a negative effect on their quality of sleep. According to another set of smartphone dependency statistics, one in three people checks their smartphones in the middle of the night.
17. 87% of smartphone users check their phone within an hour of waking or going to sleep.
That’s an increase of 7% from 2018. Nearly 69% of users also check their phone within five minutes of waking up in the morning, a 5% increase over 2018. According to Deloitte, 40% of users check their phone in the middle of the night.
18. According to phone addiction facts, reaching for the cell phone first thing in the morning is one of the surest signs of phone addiction.
The other signs include using the phone when bored, increasing mobile phone usage, anxiety if the phone is out of sight, other people complaining about one’s excessive phone use, and difficulty in cutting back on phone usage.
19. 84% of US working adults use their personal phones during working hours.
This condition is not limited to American workers alone. In the UK, 75% of workers check their phones while at work. Cell phone addiction statistics show that your phone has the potential to keep you distracted.
Moreover, as cybersecurity trends show, the use of personal phones at the workplace can sometimes also lead to increased exposure to cybercrime.
20. 59% of office-going smartphone users admit that personal use of technology is more distracting than work tools.
The biggest source of distraction, according to the same set of respondents, is Facebook. An overwhelming majority—86%—blame the social networking platform for causing distraction at work.
21. Humans now have an attention span shorter than a goldfish does.
The average attention span for the goldfish—a creature synonymous with being easily distracted—is nine seconds. Thanks to the effects of a digitalized lifestyle on the human brain, it has been found that the average attention span of humans has dropped to eight seconds. That’s a drop of four seconds since 2000.
22. 75% of users admit they have texted at least once while driving.
Can you get addicted to your phone? Well, it looks like not only can you get addicted to phones, but this addiction can lead to extremely dangerous behavior as well. In fact, mobile phone addiction studies have shown that smartphone use is more dangerous on the road than even alcohol abuse.
23. 26% of car accidents are caused by cell phone use.
According to data from CDC, alcohol abuse accounts for about 27-31% of fatal car crashes in the US, indicating that the total number of crashes, both fatal and non-fatal, would be a lot lower than 26%. Thus, as per cell phone addiction statistics for 2018, a person’s mobile addiction can harm other people as well.
24. 70% of women have mobile phone separation anxiety, compared to 61% of men.
So women are slightly more susceptible to nomophobia than men. On the other hand, 47% of men are likely to have two mobile phones, compared to 36% of women. Phone addiction figures also vary based on age profiles – 77% of people in the 18-24 age group are nomophobic, compared to 68% in the 25-34 group. The effects of cell phone addiction on young users can be particularly problematic.
25. Two-thirds of Americans believe to some extent that a periodic digital detox is important for mental health.
Around 92% of Americans also believe that smartphone addiction is a real thing. Recognition of a problem is the first step toward finding a solution. With the growing realization of the ills of incessant phone use, there is a stronger likelihood that phone users will begin to take steps to reduce their dependence on these devices.
26. Cell phone addiction statistics for 2019 show that 58% of smartphone users have attempted to limit their usage in the past.
This is an increase of 11% from 2018, indicating a growing awareness of the risks of phone addiction. Approximately 41% of such people feel they have been successful in doing so in 2019, which is also an increase of 11% from 2018.
27. Both iOS and Android systems provide usage reports to track the time spent on the phone.
After these rather disheartening statistics, it is natural to ask, “How do I beat my phone addiction?” Apart from using the kind of reports mentioned above to recognize the time spent on phones and then trying to reduce this time, other suggested ways include turning off the phone at work or in school/college, focusing boredom on other activities, limiting the time spent on social media, banning the phone from certain rooms like the bedroom and bathroom, not looking at the phone at least an hour before going to sleep, etc.
In extreme cases, seeking professional help is also recommended.
Smartphone Addiction Among the Youth
28. 36% of millennials say they spend two or more hours per workday looking at their phones.
This is done overwhelmingly for personal activities, like catching up on social media. As a result, phone addiction statistics show that companies are losing millions because of the distracted young workforce.
29. In the 18-29 age group, 22% of users check their phone every few minutes.
Almost 51% check their phone a few times per hour. According to CNet, 68% of people aged 18-34 aren’t able to keep their hands off their smartphone for even an hour. This inability to let go off one’s phone for more than a few minutes is one of the surest signs of smartphone addiction.
30. Young adults use their smartphones roughly twice as much as they think they do.
Several cell phone addiction articles reveal that most users’ perception of the time spent on their electronic devices is much lower than the actual figure. A more accurate understanding of the amount of time wasted on phones might encourage more users to try to remedy the issue.
31. 77% of users in the 18-24 age group admit they reach for their smartphone if nothing is occupying their attention.
Phones have become the default option to pass the time for many people. The constant barrage of often useless information presented by phones keeps people engaged. This need to be constantly engaged is a lot more pronounced among today’s youth than it is among older users. For instance, the figure is just 10% for users above 65.
32. 33% of teens spend more time socializing with close friends online rather than face-to-face.
One of the most salient smartphone addiction facts is that personal interaction has suffered in the age of smartphones and social media, with the effect being most prominent among the youngest users. This is despite the fact that 69% of teens wish they could spend more time socializing with their close friends face-to-face.
33. 52% of teens stare at their smartphones for extended periods, even when with friends.
Strangely, even when young smartphone users are in the presence of their friends, more than half admit that they are not fully engaged with the person they are with. Phones, thus, have a negative impact on personal relationships as well.
34. 58% of teens feel that people generally expect them to respond immediately to notifications.
The result, as cell phone addiction statistics show, is that 41% of teens feel overwhelmed by the number of notifications they receive daily. Related to this is a study by the American Psychology Association, which found that test subjects who received their notifications in batches three times a day reported they felt significantly happier, more focused, and less stressed than those who received notifications as usual, or not at all.
35. Teenagers who spend five hours a day on electronic devices are 71% more likely to have suicide risk factors than those with one hour of usage.
Extended periods spent in isolation are associated with increased risk of psychological issues. Smartphone addiction statistics for 2018 also show that eighth-graders, who are heavy users of social media, have a 27% higher risk of depression. Thus, phone addiction has proven mental health-related costs.
36. Teens who spend five hours a day on electronic devices are also 51% more likely to get under seven hours of sleep compared to those with one hour of usage.
At an age when proper sleep is essential for everything, from proper growth to focus on studies, sleep deprivation can prove particularly disastrous. Apart from other problems, the lack of proper sleep is related to long-term issues linked to high blood pressure and weight gain.
37. 47% of parents think their child is addicted to her smartphone.
This average figure is even higher for specific geographies, according to nomophobia statistics for 2019. For example, in the UK, 63% of parents feel their teenaged wards are addicted to phones, while in Japan, this figure is at 61%. Around 50% of parents are concerned about smartphones’ impact on their children’s mental health.
38. Screen time is the third-most frequent source of conflict between parents and teens.
After chores (35%) and bedtime (33%), the time spent on electronic devices, particularly phones, is the cause of conflict in 31% of cases. It is often the case that parents observe the negative impact of excessive phone use on their wards much before the young users realize it themselves, if at all.
39. 89% of parents blame themselves and caregivers for the responsibility of a child’s phone use.
Smartphone addiction statistics show that 5% of parents blame the children, while 3% blame the device and app manufacturers. Most parents realize that examples set by themselves and other elders, as well as the kind of rules enforced at home and in school, have a direct bearing on how healthy a relationship a child has with her phone.
40. 67% of teachers observe students being negatively distracted by mobile devices.
High usage of phones is bound to have an effect on school activities too. While many schools restrict the use of phones on campus, it is not completely prohibited across all educational institutions. Furthermore, 90% of teachers state the number of students with emotional challenges has increased, which in many cases, is a result of spending long hours on electronic devices.
Key Takeaways From Smartphone Addiction Statistics
- Smartphone addiction is a more common and serious issue than many people realize.
- The growing penetration of smartphones and the increased availability of content is likely to make this issue even more serious.
- Already, a very high number of users report their work, sleep, attention spans, and personal lives being affected by their phone usage.
- Smartphone addiction can be an even more serious problem among teenagers and young adults.
- Thankfully, there are a number of ways, largely self-regulated, to reduce one’s dependence on one’s phone.