More than one in four adults and almost one in five teens are addicted to smartphones, new research by industry regulator Ofcom has revealed.
Ofcom’s Communications Market Report 2011, shows that 27% of adults and 47% of teens now own a smartphone such as the Apple iPhone, a BlackBerry or an Android handset.
The regulator researched the impact of mobile technology on changing living habits by surveying 2,073 adults, aged 16 years and above, and 521 teens between 12-15-years old in March this year.
Ofcom found that mobile phone ownership grew from 50% to 91% between 2000 and 2010. Nearly half of all new handsets sold in Q1 of 2011 were smartphones, leading to a huge growth in data use.
When asked to rate their level of addiction to smartphones from 1-10, 37% of adult smartphone users and 60% of teen smartphone users admitted to a ‘highly addicted’ rate of between 7 and 10.
Meanwhile, smartphone users were also revealed to be more dedicated phone users that users with basic handsets. 81% of smartphone users make more calls and send more texts on a daily basis compared with just 53% of basis mobile users.
Social networking platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are driving the use of the internet on a mobile. 57% of smartphone users now use their mobile phones for social networking, while PCs still dominate for accessing search engines, sending emails and internet shopping.
However, Facebook completely dominates time spent on mobile websites, equating to five hours and 36 minutes per user, per month, with Google sites trailing a long way behind.
The increasing amount of time spent using smartphones, especially among teenagers, has led to a displacement of more traditional activities such as watching TV, using a computer, playing games on a console or reading books.
Even though television viewing remained resilient, 23% of teens and 10% of adults admitted to watching less TV because of their smartphones.
Many consumers also see their smartphones as an extension of themselves, with 81% of users admitting to keeping their mobile switched on 24 hours a day. 38% of adults and 40% of teens said that they would answer their smartphone if it wakes them during the night.
Smartphones are also blurring the division between work and social time. The report found that 30% of smartphone owners use their devices to make personal calls during work, as opposed to 23% of regular mobile phone owners. 24% of smartphone owners regularly make work related calls on holiday, while only 16% of regular mobile users do the same.