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Are Americans Addicted to Smartphones? U.S. Consumers Check Their Phones 52 Times Daily, Study Finds

The first step is admitting you have a problem: About 39% of U.S. consumers confess that they believe they’re using their smartphones excessively, according to a new study.

On average, American consumers now check their smartphones an average of 52 times each day, according to the U.S. edition of the 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey from Deloitte. That’s up from 47 times per day on last year’s study, according to the consulting and professional services firm. About 35% of adults say they use their smartphones “very often” or “fairly often” for business uses outside normal working hours.

As evidence of addiction-like behavior with mobile devices continues to mount, that’s raised concerns that social media and smartphones are contributing to depression and other mental-health problems, especially among kids and younger adults. Per Deloitte’s 2018 mobile consumer study, 60% of U.S. consumers 18-34 admit to smartphone overuse — the highest level of any age group.

In response, device and app makers, including Apple, Samsung, and Facebook and Instagram, have rolled out new features to help users track and limit their usage. Deloitte’s study found 63% of the respondents reported trying to limit their smartphone usage; however, only half of those succeeded in cutting back.

In any case, it’s clear that smartphones aren’t going away. In 2018, smartphone penetration has risen to 85% of the U.S. population, up three percentage points from last year. That means an estimated 270 million Americans own a smartphone, per Deloitte’s study.

“This year’s survey really advances the story of smartphones as the true center of our lives, both inside and outside the home,” said Kevin Westcott, Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. telecommunications, media and entertainment sector leader.

While smartphone penetration continued to rise, tablet ownership dropped — 57% of Americans surveyed said they own a tablet, versus 62% last year. Among other device categories, penetration rates per Deloitte’s 2018 survey were: laptop computers (77%), desktop computers (57%), fitness bands (21%), smartwatches (14%), and virtual-reality headsets (8%).

The U.S. findings from Deloitte’s 2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey are based on responses from about 2,000 consumers 18 and older in the United States.

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