A majority of smartphone users admit to checking their devices nearly all the time, including while dining with others. More than half of users also check at least one app hourly or more frequently, according to results of a 2014 survey of 1,000 U.S. and U.K. users. The survey was conducted by Apigee.
The study also revealed that 88 percent of smartphone owners plan to spend at least as much time in front of their mobile screens in 2015 as they did last year, and 30 percent of them expect to increase their usage.
"To me a pivotal question is whether attention paid to apps is distracting people from what matters most in their lives, or helping them focus on what they care about," Bryan Kirschner, director of the Apigee Institute, told eWEEK.
“I’m a big Jane Austen fan, and if you read, say, Pride and Prejudice, people of her time were incredibly dependent on the post,” Kirschner notes by way of comparison. “But assiduous letter-writing wasn’t a distraction—rather it was how strong social, family, and business relationships were maintained."
For the most part, the survey data indicates that people today are also using apps to be more productive, stay closer to loved ones, and eliminate wasted time, Kirschner said.
Nearly a third (32 percent) said they plan to increase the number of apps they download, and 97 percent reported no intent to decrease the amount of money they spend through apps, with 38 percent planning to spend more.
"I believe the lines between digital and physical will increasingly blur across all aspects of our lives—to our overall benefit. We will be equipped—whether that means carrying or wearing or both—with smart, connected devices at most or all times," Kirschner said. "In order to feel excited about this, however, I think it is necessary to look beyond the way we’ve experienced the Internet to date."
About 20 percent of top app users said they could not maintain a relationship with a significant other without the apps on their mobile device; 19 percent said they wouldn’t be able to find new friends, and 17 percent said they couldn’t do their jobs.
In fact, 81 percent agreed that overall, their mobile phone made them more productive, and 88 percent rated application shopping favorably.
The vast majority (94 percent) percent said they expect to have key products and services provided through apps from their bank, and 92 percent expect the same from department stores.
In addition, 91 percent expect services from restaurants, and 90 percent from grocery stores. For educational institutions, the number was 86 percent and for stock brokers, 83 percent.
Three-quarters of respondents expect an app from their doctors; 72 percent from local government; 72 percent from hardware stores; 62 percent from lawyers; 57 percent from mechanics, and 49 percent expect apps from their church.
"As apps and devices become even more useful than they already are, the bar for app adoption will rise in terms of both usefulness and trust," Kirschner said. "The companies that will succeed with apps will look at our data and embrace the fact that people are using apps to make their lives better and challenge themselves to find ways aligned with their brand to be a part of that."