Smartphone Owners Spend Time With Social Networking, Email Apps

By Nathan Eddy  |  Posted 2013-09-24

The combined total minutes spent on activities requiring data connectivity on smartphones now far outpaces talking on these devices, according to the Smartphones: Consumer Behavioral Trends report from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), which examined trends on consumer behavior and sentiment regarding smartphones from June to August 2013.

Two-thirds (66 percent) of online U.S. consumers indicated they own a smartphone as of August with nearly half (45 percent) of all consumers planning to purchase one within the next 12 months, revealing very high near-term purchase intent. For consumers who do not currently own a smartphone, 61 percent expect to purchase one at some point in the future, the survey revealed.

"With growing ownership rates, it should be expected that the beginning signs of market saturation may appear within the next couple of years," Kevin Tillmann, senior research analyst for market research with CEA, said in a statement. "Yet, the near-term outlook for consumer purchase and upgrade intent remains bright for these devices, a positive sign that the smartphone market will continue to grow with new owners through 2014."

The report also revealed smartphone owners use a wide variety of apps on their devices. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of smartphone owners indicate they use weather apps, making them the most popular type of application used with smartphones. Additionally, 60 percent use social networking apps, followed by games (57 percent), photo and video (55 percent) and navigation (55 percent). The top three smartphone features, based on the number of discussions in August,were body color, battery and design.

Talking remains the top activity, but the combined total minutes spent on activities requiring data connectivity now far surpasses telephony use, according to the CEA research. The top activities in terms of average time spent each day included talking (23 minutes), texting (20 minutes), using email (18 minutes), visiting Websites (16 minutes) and social networking (11 minutes). Across different activities, smartphone owners spend an average of nearly two hours (114 minutes) using their devices each day.

"The degree to which consumers use their smartphones primarily as data information hubs, mostly forgoing devices’ traditional purpose, is significant," Shawn DuBravac, chief economist and senior director of research for CEA, said in a statement. "Smartphones have become the viewfinder of our digital life. How smartphone utilization evolves has incredible implications moving forward."

In terms of mobile purchases, more than half of smartphone owners (52 percent) have used their devices to shop online. A plurality of smartphone shoppers (35 percent) prefer the mobile Website experience when online shopping compared to the app (32 percent) or the full Website (32 percent).

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