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Britons collectively check their smartphones 1.1 billion times a day

Deloitte report reveals that UK mobile owners are increasingly obsessed with their devices

7 September 2015

  • UK smartphone owners as a whole look at their devices 400 billion times a year
  • More than 32 million smartphones will be shipped in the UK in 2015; one for every other person in Britain
  • A fifth of 18 to 24 year-olds look at their phones when crossing the road

Britain’s mobile phone owners look at their devices nearly 1.1 billion times a day, the equivalent of 400 billion times a year, according to the latest research from Deloitte, the business advisory firm.

The fifth annual Mobile Consumer report analyses the mobile usage habits of over 4,000 UK consumers as part of a global survey of 49,000. As of May-June 2015, 76% of UK adults owned a smartphone, an increase of six percentage points from the previous year and 14% higher than in 2013.

Britain: the smartphone society
Over a third (36%) of smartphone owners look at their device more than 25 times a day. A sixth (16%) of respondents look at their smartphone more than 50 times a day. One in ten (12%) smartphone owners reaches for their device immediately upon waking; more than half (55%) do so within 15 minutes of waking up. This ritual is repeated at the end of the day: more than a quarter (28%) check their phones within five minutes before going to sleep every night.

The research also found that Britons use their phones throughout the day. Two thirds of smartphone owners use their devices while on public transport; 65% while at work; and almost a third of people use their phones while eating in a restaurant. For younger age groups (18 to 24 year-olds), usage intensity is higher still: 80% of young people use their devices on public transport and 43% while eating at a restaurant. Worryingly, a fifth of 18 to 24 year-olds look at their phones when crossing the road.

Paul Lee, head of technology, media and telecommunications research at Deloitte, comments: “The modern, touchscreen-based smartphone is less than a decade old, but it is more intertwined with our lives than ever. Constant technological improvements are allowing us to delegate more and more tasks to our phones, from ordering taxis to browsing catalogues and paying for a meal.

“The frequency of consumers glancing at their smartphones arguably makes it one of the best value devices available. For the sixth of smartphone owners who look at their devices 50 times or more a day, the cost per glance is less than two pence a day for a £700 handset kept for two years. And that’s before allowing for trade-in value.”

Data-hungry devices
Deloitte’s research shows that sharing photos, making internet calls and streaming content has never been more popular. Mobile phone owners are in constant demand for data; and a quarter of all mobile owners (and 30% of smartphones owners) now use 4G.

Ed Marsden, lead telecoms partner at Deloitte, comments: “Consumers are planning their lives around their smartphones, which are quickly becoming the remote control for their lives. This will only increase the need for fast, uninterrupted connectivity. With 4G network speeds more than double that of 3G, it is not surprising that we have seen the number of 4G customers leap from eight to 25% in the last year.

“This is good news for mobile carriers and network operators. Faster connectivity should encourage greater data consumption. The telecommunications industry should constantly identify applications that can nurture higher demand for data.

“UK telecoms companies have copious data and information about their customers. However, the industry’s inertia around monetising this information has allowed a number of Silicon Valley giants to gain traction. It will be interesting to see whether UK telecoms companies will look to develop new revenue streams in the coming years as demand for connectivity continues to grow.”

Mobile payments on the rise
According to Deloitte’s research, there has been a significant increase in the number of UK adults who have made mobile payments in the year to May 2015, rising from three to 13% of respondents. However, just 1% use their phones to make payments via their mobile phone on a daily basis.

Barriers to entry still exist for the majority of smartphone owners. The most common reason that UK adults gave for not using their phone to make a payment was one of security – cited by 42% of respondents. This was followed by “I don’t see the benefits from using this” (35%), and users lacking the necessary feature or app on their phone (22%).

Lee added: “As technology companies continue to launch and market their mobile-payment systems, smartphone users will increasingly accept it as a method of payment. Within the next year, we would expect around 10% of smartphone owners to regularly make mobile payments. Early adopters may choose to leave home without the need to carry a wallet or purse.

“However, for the mainstream consumer, it will be many years before credit cards are dispensed of entirely; cash’s anonymity may well mean it remains in circulation for generations.”


About the report
The UK data cut is part of Deloitte’s Global Mobile Consumer Survey, a multi-country study of mobile phone users around the world. The 2015 study comprises of 49,000 respondents across 30 countries and six continents.

Data cited in this report are based on a nationally representative sample of 4,000 UK consumers aged 18-75. The sample follows a country specific quota on age, gender, region, working and socio-economic status. Fieldwork took place during May to June 2015 and was carried out online by Ipsos MORI, an independent research firm, based on a question set provided by Deloitte. For more information visit

Notes to editors

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

George Parrett
Deloitte LLP
+44 (0) 20 7007 7285

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