Americans spend 58 minutes a day on their smartphones

May 28, 2013 by Experian Marketing Services

New data from Experian Marketing Services’ Simmons® ConnectSM mobile and digital panel sheds light on the way smartphone users spend time using their phone, with the average adult clocking 58 minutes daily on their device. On average, smartphone owners devote 26% of the time they spend on their phone talking and another 20% texting. Social networking eats up 16% of smartphone time while browsing the mobile web accounts for 14% of time spent. Emailing and playing games account for roughly 9% and 8% of daily smartphone time, respectively, while use of the phone’s camera and GPS each take up another 2% of our smartphone day.

*Activities include use of a smartphone’s native features dedicated to each activity as well as downloaded apps whose primary function falls under the given activity. For instance, “watch video” includes the act of watching video on the smartphone’s native video player as well as use of video apps such as YouTube, Netflix, etc.

iPhone versus Android users

Smartphone users may constantly debate which operating system is supreme, but we see clear differences between the ways consumers use their phone depending on the operating system that runs it. For starters, iPhone users spend an hour and fifteen minutes using their phones per day, a full 26 minutes more than the typical Android phone owner. Additionally, iPhone and Android smartphone owners use their phones in markedly different ways. For instance, 28% of the time that Android users spend using their phones is dedicated to talking, whereas iPhone users spend only 22% of their smartphone time talking on the device. Android owners also devote a greater share of time visiting websites on their phone than iPhone owners. On the other hand, iPhone owners spend a disproportionately greater share of smartphone time than Android owners texting, emailing, using the camera and social networking.

Note on time spent

It may surprise some to read that an activity like watching video accounts for such a small share (less than 1%) of the typical adult’s daily smartphone use. However, for the charts above to sum to a single daily total it was necessary to calculate individual activity contribution using a base of all smartphone owners, including those who don’t spend any time engaging in a given activity during a typical day. The chart below provides additional insights into the time spent engaging in the major smartphone activities examining only those individuals who engaged in each activity during a 24-hour period. I’ve also added into the chart a reach and frequency metric to indicate the popularity of each activity and the number of times per day that individuals engage in them.

In the chart, the activities with the largest bubbles are those in which the greatest share of smartphone owners engage during a typical day and include the usual suspects: talking (79%), texting (76%), visiting websites (62%), emailing (61%) and social networking (52%). Activities with the fewest daily participants are: watching video, which 2.3% of smartphone owners do during a typical day, and reading, which just 0.5% of smartphone owners do daily.

Given that nearly 98% of smartphone users don’t watch videos on their phone during a typical day, it’s easier to understand why video comprises such a low share of the average adult’s daily smartphone use. However, the chart above reveals that those who do watch video on their phone spend, on average, 5 minutes a day watching videos spread out over 4.2 different viewing sessions.

For more information on consumers’ usage of smartphones, digital tablets, computers and other traditional and digital media platforms, check out Simmons Connect.