Two-thirds of adults say they wish they used their smartphone less - survey

Consumers also want to use their phones for carrying essential IDs, such as passports and driving licences

Two-thirds of adults said they wish they used their smartphone less, a new survey has found, as smartphone adoption continues to rise in Ireland.

But consumers also want to use their phones for carrying essential IDs, such as passports and driving licences, and phones are now the preferred device for online shopping.

The research, which was carried out for Deloitte as part of its digital consumer trends report, said the number of people who wanted to be less dependent on their phones had risen significantly from the 51 per cent recorded a year earlier.

Younger people in the 18 to 34 age group were more likely to think they were using their devices too much, while women were more keen than men to reduce the amount of time they spent on smartphones, at 74 per cent versus 61 per cent of men.


Seven out of 10 people use their smartphone as soon as they wake up, the research found, with more than a third of 18 to 75 year olds using their phones during meals.

Some 36 per cent said they check their phone at least 50 times a day, while 16 per cent said they check it 100 times. More than half of people said they stay up later to use devices.

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“These results reaffirm how important the smartphone is in our daily lives and show that it is likely to further consolidate its status as the most successful consumer device. While many people wish they could reduce the extensive amount of time they spend on their smartphones, it is clear that they are the preferred devices for everything from banking to online search, browsing, playing games and shopping,” said John Kehoe, partner in Deloitte’s consumer and technology business audit and assurance group.

“People are now increasingly using their phones to make in-person payments and our survey shows many would also like to use them for identity identification too, which is something that is likely to become possible in the future.”

“The European Parliament and Council of the European Union have already started to move towards the adoption of ID technology by reaching final agreement on European digital identity wallets, a move which is now subject to formal approval. If approved, the wallets will serve as a form of national ID card which could be used for both online and offline public and private services across the EU.”

The tech trends survey also looked at digital entertainment, highlighting the ongoing popularity of Netflix, which was top at 62 per cent.

Almost a quarter said they had cancelled a video streaming service in the last 12 months, with a third of those saying they didn’t use it enough and almost a quarter citing cost as a factor.

Despite attempts by streaming services to crack down on sharing passwords, more than a third of people said they shared streaming subscriptions with other households. Disney has become the latest service to say it would begin to clamp down on password sharing for its service, as an increasingly competitive market puts pressure on growth.

“We’re seeing more streaming services explore new payment models for subscribers and our reports finds that while full-price subscriptions and no ads is the most popular payment method for consumers, around 1 in 10 would prefer half-price subscriptions and 5 minutes of ads per hour during each programme or before each programme,” said Colm McDonnell, partner and head of technology, media, and telecommunications at Deloitte, remarking that providers were likely to shift from “growth at all costs” to making it easier to get value for consumers.

“It is likely that providers will start to introduce an increased number of on demand tiers for customers to choose from,” hw said.

“This will include options from cheap ad-supported offerings and gated content to premium tiers with instant access. Users may find it harder to wade through the options, but tiering could help them get more of what they want, and less of what they don’t.”

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist