Irish consumers use their smartphones an average of 57 times daily with some heavy users admitting to checking their devices more than 100 times every single day, according to new study published on Tuesday morning.
The mobile consumer survey from Deloitte reveals that 90 per cent of 18-75-year-olds – or about three million people – in the Republic now own or have access to a smartphone, a figure which ranks among the highest in Europe.
While Irish users check their phones an average of 57 times – compared with a European average of 41 times – 16 per cent of people admitted to checking their devices more than 100 times a day.
Half of those polled believe they use their phones too much, while 60 per cent think their partners use their phone too much. The research also reveals that 89 per cent of people use their phones when in company while 74 per cent use their devices when in a restaurants with family and friends.
While 45 per cent of people said they have tried to use their mobile less often, only a quarter said they were successful in curbing their mobile usage.
Deloitte also asked people when they used their smartphones and found that 85 per cent pored over the devices while walking with just under a third admitting to using smartphones while crossing roads.
The research also reveals that 44 per cent of people check their phones during the night with a third saying they use phones to check the time and 11 per cent saying they check social media. Sixty per cent of people aged 18-24 check their phones at night.
All told 40 per cent of Irish people look at their smartphones within five minutes of waking and three-quarters do so within half an hour. At the other end of the day, 30 per cent say they check their phone within five minutes of going to sleep.
The survey also says that 68 per cent of consumers text on a daily basis while 65 per cent use their phones for calls every day. Instant messaging services are used by 64 per cent, email by 63 per cent and social networks are used by 59 per cent. A further 54 per cent of Irish consumers say they read the news on their phone on a daily basis.
Deloitte researchers also pointed to what they said was the emergence of the “grey” market. Average ownership of mobile devices by the over-65s has increased from 48 per cent in 2016 to 54 per cent in 2017, with smartphone ownership now at 80 per cent. The findings also show that, in the over-65 age group, the use of video calling has increased from 25 per cent in 2016 to 48 per cent in 2017, use of social networks has increased from 39 per cent to 53 per cent, and instant messaging from 42 per cent to 71 per cent.
"Mobile devices are a relatively new 'addiction' to our social fabric and they form an important part of our daily activities and interactions," said Richard Howard, Partner and Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications at Deloitte.
“Social norms will develop over time, and it will be interesting to see if the fear of being without one’s phone – nomophobia – starts to become more widely recognised. We expect to see phone manufacturers continue to put more usage controls into devices to prevent dangerous usage.”