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forrester-weekly-smartphone-activities-sept2016Almost 8 in 10 Americans who own cell phones own a smartphone, per recent data from comScore, and smartphones’ rapid growth in recent years has led to the devices now accounting for half of all time spent online. So what are the most popular activities on smartphones? A recent report from Forrester Research offers some insights.

Based on a survey of almost 45,000 US online adults whose primary mobile phone is a smartphone, Forrester’s State of Consumer & Technology report reveals that 93% of these respondents access the internet on at least a weekly basis from their devices. That makes internet access the clear leader in smartphone activities, a position it holds across all generations.

Next up is taking photos and videos, an activity that slightly more than 7 in 10 smartphone users engage it at least weekly. Close behind is texting, with about two-thirds (68%) receiving SMS/text alerts.

These top 3 activities are consistent across each generation, with Gen Z (18-27) respondents the most likely to perform each.

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Beyond the top-3, other activities performed by US adults on their devices at least weekly include:

  • Research products (47%);
  • Sending or receiving work email (40%);
  • Streaming music (40%);
  • Purchasing products (29%); and
  • Streaming video/TV shows (29%).

(The full list of activities can be seen in the above chart.)

The survey did not measure weekly usage of social media on smartphones, though separate data suggests that this would be one of the top activities.

One might expect to see Gen Z respondents emerge as the most likely to perform a variety of these activities, and that is the case almost across the board. Interestingly, though, the only activities in which Gen Y (28-36) lead all generations pertain to mobile commerce. Specifically, Gen Y respondents were the most likely to both research and purchase products on their devices. Perhaps there’s something to the Millennial fascination after all…

As for Gen Y, it’s not the largest population of online adults, at least using the somewhat narrow age definition (28-36) provided in the report. Instead, Gen Xers (37-50) has the largest online population, although that seems to be a function of its larger age range.

Visit this article to find out exactly how many Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomer adults there are in the US.

About the Data: Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® North American Online Benchmark Survey (Part 1), 2016 is based on a survey of 60,049 respondents in the US and 6,284 respondents in Canada between the ages of 18 and 88.

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