Three million people now own or have access to a smartphone in Ireland

Three million people now own or have access to a smartphone and check their phone on average 57 times a day

Half of Irish people think they use their mobile phone too much

Over-65 age group use of video calling has increased from 25% in 2016 to 48% in 2017

Land of saints, scholars and smartphones – smartphone usage pervasive amongst Irish consumers – Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey

  • Survey of 18-75-year-olds reveals Irish smartphone owners’ device usage habits
  • 90% –  equivalent to approximately 3 million people – now own or have access to a smartphone
  • Irish people check their phone on average 57 times a day -  More females than males (57% v 37%) believe they are using their phones too much
  • ‘Grey’ tech market is likely to become mobile retailers’ growth segment
  • Average ownership of mobile devices by over 65s has increased from 48% in 2016 to 54% in 2017, with smart phone ownership now at 80%.
  • Over-65 age group use of video calling has increased from 25% in 2016 to 48% in 2017
  • 19% use in-store mobile payment solutions

5 December 2017: 85% of 18-75-year-olds in Ireland use their smartphones while walking - the equivalent of around 2.8 million* people - according to the latest research from Deloitte.  Just under a third – approximately 1 million people - also admit to using their smartphones while crossing the road.

Deloitte’s annual Mobile Consumer Survey, Land of Saints, Scholars and Smartphones,  which analyses the mobile usage habits of 1,000 people in Ireland, has found that 90% of 18-75-year-olds - approximately 3 million people -  now own or have access to a smartphone. The findings show that the Irish are among the top users of smartphones in Europe – on average, across Europe, 88% of people own, or have access to a smartphone. Furthermore, the number of people with access to a tablet stands at 71% - the equivalent of 2.36 million people.

Richard Howard, Partner and Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications at Deloitte, commented: “Mobile devices are a relatively new ‘addiction’ to our social fabric and they form an important part of our daily activities and interactions. 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.”

Mobile ‘addiction’?

Deloitte’s research shows that Ireland’s love of smartphones continues to affect almost every aspect of daily life, including at night-time. 44% check their phone during the night, with checking the time (33%), social media interactions (11%) and instant messages/text messages (10%) the top three nocturnal activities. Among 18-24-year-olds, 60% check their phones in the middle of the night, while just under a third (30%) check social media notifications.

Overall, 40% of Irish people look at their smartphones within five minutes of waking, and three quarters (76%) do so within half an hour. At the end of the day, 30% check their phone within five minutes of going to sleep. The research also reveals that 89% of people use their phone when spending time with family and friends and 74% do so when in a restaurant with family and friends.

In terms of communicating with others, consumers use their phones most for text messaging – 68% do this on a daily basis. This is followed by voice calls (65%), instant messaging (64%), email (63%) and social networks (59%). 54% of Irish consumers read the news on their phone on a daily basis, 25% watch short videos or live posts/stories, 21% watch videos shared on instant messaging networks and 18% take photos. Just 2% use their phones on a daily basis to bet or gamble.

One fifth of Irish consumers have between 11 and 20 apps on their phone and 19% have between six and 10.

Call to attention: awareness of usage

For the first time, this year’s research has captured smartphone owners’ self-awareness of their device usage. Half of Irish people think they use their mobile phone too much. Indeed, in response to how often they use their smartphone, Irish consumers responded with an average of 57 times a day, compared to a European average of 41 times a day. 16% of Irish consumers admitted to checking their phone more than 100 times a day. Furthermore, while half of consumers think they use their phone too much, nearly 60% think their partners use their phone too much.

Interestingly more females than males (57% v 37%) believe they are using their phones too much, and this perception is most apparent in the 25-34 age group (62%), compared to the 65-75 age group (21%).

While 45% of people try to use their mobile less, only a quarter admit to being successful in curbing their mobile usage.

From device revolution to device evolution – emergence of the ‘grey’ market

44% of Irish people expect to trade in their phone in the coming year. This compares to a European average of 38%. Despite this, the percentage of consumers in Ireland willing to buy the latest device has dropped from 38% to 31% with the number of people who will only replace their device if it is defective increasing from 30% to 36%. The findings point to a trend of reduced early adoption across all mobile devices, including newer technologies such as smart watches and VR headsets.

Howard commented: “Just because the revolution of device ownership is slowing does not mean that it is stagnating. In addition to those looking to upgrade their smartphone, a fifth of Irish consumers are looking at purchasing a new laptop, while a tenth indicate they hope to upgrade their tablet. It appears that that recent innovations such as biometrics and virtual reality are not convincing consumers to upgrade their devices. This trend is consistent with global usage patterns – Deloitte predicts that global spend on consumer hardware will continue to decrease over the coming two years, picking up again from 2020.”

In line with this, the ‘grey’ tech market is likely to become mobile retailers’ growth market, and the findings show this is the one demographic where accelerated buying patterns are observed. Average ownership of mobile devices by over 65s has increased from 48% in 2016 to 54% in 2017, with smart phone ownership now at 80%. Findings show that, in the over-65 age group, the use of video calling has increased from 25% in 2016 to 48% in 2017, social networks usage has increased from 39% to 53%, and instant messaging has increased from 42% to 71%.

Online mobile payments – security concerns remain

Nearly half (47%) of Irish consumers check bank balances on their smartphones, 41% browse shopping websites or apps and 39% research a product or service.

The findings show that the number of Irish smartphone users who use in-store mobile payment solutions has increased by 7% to 19% since 2016. While willingness appears to be increasing, security concerns are the main barrier to increased adoption. 26% of consumers believe that online mobile payments are not secure enough, and 25% don’t see any benefits from using this facility.

The Internet of Things is here and set to rise

83% of Irish people have access to at least one IoT device, compared to a European average of 73%. The prominent device in this regard is Smart TVs – 44% of Irish consumers now own these, compared with 29% last year. There has been a significant increase in fitness band ownership, which has risen from 8% last year to 29%.

IOT device penetration looks set to continue in 2018 also - Irish consumers have indicated that they plan to purchase smart TVs (23%), wireless speakers (12%), fitness bands (12%) and smart thermostats (12%).

“Over the last ten years, we have seen the phone morph from being a voice enabler to our camera to a social messaging app and now to a personal assistant and a link to our bank. If the first 10 years has been about changing our social lives, the next

10 years will be about changing our working lives. The smartphone’s attractiveness lies in the fact that it is the definitive multi-purpose consumer device: a digital Swiss Army knife with a set of tools that is millions of apps deep.

“As the FinTech era begins to find its feet, we know mobile will have an integral role as our payment enabler. We also expect to see more specific work apps being developed such as apps to link into ERP and CRM systems, and not just email.

“What’s clear, overall, is that we cannot underestimate how mobile devices have changed how we interact with others. Our survey shows that the right balance is still to found for many of us,” concluded Howard.

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