Are you a smartphone addict?

Nearly two-thirds of British Columbian adults now own a smartphone

Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of British Columbian adults now own a smartphone and are using their device an average of nearly two hours every day on a wide variety of activities. 18 per cent of owners consider themselves addicted to their device.

Together with iamota (a mobile agency), Insights West recently completed its Smartphone Insights Report with data from an online poll of 849 British Columbian adults about the use and role of smartphones in our daily lives. The report finds that nearly two-thirds of British Columbian adults (64 per cent) own a smartphone, a number that jumps to 86 per cent among 18-34 year olds. Ownership has now surpassed PVRs (52 per cent) and MP3 players (55 per cent), and is nearly as high as landline telephones (71 per cent).

On average, smartphone owners report using their smartphone 1.7 hours every day. In fact, almost one-in-five owners (18 per cent) confess to being addicted to their smartphone and over one-third of smartphone owners (35 per cent) say it is important for them to have the latest smartphone. In many instances, smartphones are people’s go-to device and play a vital role in social media use, particularly Twitter.  Mobile purchases are being made by half of all smartphone owners as they pay for such things as parking, coffee and movie tickets. There is great interest and desire to use their smartphone for more purchases in the future.

Smartphones are used often, for many activities, and frequently instead of other devices and media. Some key facts that show how pervasive smartphones are in our lives:

• On average, smartphone owners actively spend 1.7 hours using their device each day; 59 per cent spend at least 1 hour a day (7 hours/week).

• Most (62 per cent) check their smartphone at least hourly; a compulsive 6 per cent check more often than every 10 minutes.

• 62 per cent access social media at least weekly with their smartphone.

Use is particularly high for Twitter where 54 per cent use their smartphone more than any other device to access Twitter (34 per cent use a computer most and 11 per cent a tablet).

For Facebook, 36 per cent use their smartphone most often (54 per cent most often use a computer, 10 per cent a tablet).

• Smartphone owners have embraced apps and most have many apps on their smartphones; 97 per cent have at least one, and 27 is the average number reported.

• Smartphone penetration is poised to grow even further, as 22 per cent of other non- smartphone owners have plans to upgrade to a smartphone within the next 12 months.

Smartphone owners are dedicated, with many even addicted, to their devices. Beyond what the compelling usage statistics already demonstrate, attitudes confirm how attached smartphone owners are to their devices:

• 18 per cent consider themselves “addicted” to their smartphone (3 per cent an “unhealthy addiction” and 15 per cent “a strong addiction, but manageable”), and another 43 per cent consider it very important to their lives.

Among 18-34 year olds, the addiction rate rises to 27 per cent (compared to 17 per cent of those 35-54 and just 3 per cent of those 55).

• In an average week, these self-described addicts spend 2.5 hours a day actively using their smartphone (compared to 1.6 hours for those not addicted) and half (51 per cent) check their smartphone at least once every half an hour (compared to just 24 per cent of those not addicted).

• If they left home for the day without their smartphone, nearly all smartphone owners (76 per cent) would return home to retrieve it – 31 per cent would travel 10 or more minutes to do so.

• Smartphone users were asked to choose hypothetically between giving up their smartphone for three days, or from a series of other small sacrifices instead. Only 30 per cent chose to “lose” their smartphone. A majority (56 per cent) would prefer to give up Facebook for three days, and 17 per cent would prefer to get stood up on a date.


Only 18 per cent of younger (18-34 years of age) smartphone users would give up their device (compared to 26 per cent of 35-54 year old smartphone owners and 57 per cent of 55 years +). 70 per cent would rather give up Facebook, 25 per cent computer Internet, and 25 per cent get stood up for a date.