Smartphones prevail as fastest growing connected devices, Deloitte says
- The smartphone is the most preferred way for Americans to get online, ahead of laptops, desktop computers and tablets, according to Deloitte’s 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey. Smartphone penetration this year reached 85%, up three percentage points from 2017, as an estimated 270 million Americans viewed their smartphones about 14 billion times a day.
- Smartphones were the fastest-growing category of connected devices in the past year, with consumer penetration higher than laptops (77%), desktop computers (57%), tablets (57%), fitness bands (21%), smartwatches (14%) and virtual reality (VR) headsets (8%).
- American consumers view their phones an average of 52 times a day, with 39% of smartphone owners saying they use their mobile devices too much. Smartphone overuse was most noticeable among young adults, with 60% of people ages 18 to 34 saying they use their phones too much, the highest level of any age group.
Despite signs of maturation in the smartphone category, with sales growth slowing for major manufacturers like Apple, Deloitte’s report shows the dominance of smartphones among American consumers, making the devices a vital way for marketers and brands to reach audiences. Smartphones have established strong bonds with their owners, with 94% of smartphone owners using the devices daily, ahead of laptops (74%), desktop computers (71%), smartwatches (67%), fitness bands (60%) and tablets (52%). Smartphones also are blurring the lines between work and leisure with 70% of respondents saying they use personal smartphones at least occasionally for after-hours work.
Consumers also are more concerned about data privacy, likely following high-profile incidents like Facebook’s biggest-ever data breach and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Eighty percent of consumers are concerned that companies use, store and share their personal data with third parties, according to Deloitte. Consumers are 14% less likely this year to share their photos and address books with companies they interact with online.
Security concerns are a key impediment to the adoption of mobile payments, with only 31% of respondents saying they have ever used their mobile device to make an in-store payment, and only 14% do so on a weekly basis. Security concerns (42%) and lack of perceived benefits (42%) were cited as main concerns about mobile payments. Those findings indicate that mobile payments processors, banks and social networks have more work ahead in establishing consumer trust.
As consumers grow more attached to their connected devices, they want faster data speeds, lower latency, improved responsiveness and better performance among connected devices, which may mean robust demand for next-generation 5G networks and smartphones. More than half (60%) of respondents said 5G is either "fairly" (34%) or "very" (26%) important to them now, compared with 55% a year earlier. The perceived importance of 5G is highest among the 25-34 age group (77%), according to Deloitte.