Which Online Activities Do Smartphone Owners Prefer to Perform On Their Devices?

August 5, 2022

Over the past several years, smartphone owners’ preferences for the device they primarily use for shopping has shifted quite considerably, according to survey data from Gallup.

This year 42% of smartphone owners surveyed say they spend more time making purchases online via smartphone than via computer, equal to the 42% share who said they spend more time using their computer than smartphone to make purchases. This is in stark contrast to 2015, when just 11% of respondents said they spent more time making purchases online using their smartphone than computer. This is reflected in the rise of mobile commerce, which now accounts for more than one-third of digital commerce in the US.

Similar gains in reliance on smartphone for other activities are registered in these latest survey results. This year 46% say they use their smartphone more than their computer to compare prices/browse products online, compared to 36% who prefer to use their computer for this task. The 46% this year who rely on their smartphone more than their computer is more than twice the share (21%) from 2015.

Separately, the 4 in 10 who use their smartphone more than their computer to manage their finances (equal to the share who use their computer more), is more than double the figure from 2015 (17%).

Meanwhile, a majority of smartphone owners this year report using their device more than their computer to use social media (61%) and browse the internet/read web articles and content (53%). While slightly fewer than half (45%) use their phone more than their computer to check or respond to email, that’s still a greater share than rely on their computer primarily for that purpose (37%). (In all of the above cases, the remaining respondents either said they rely on both devices equally or that don’t perform that activity.)

Compared to 2015, the biggest gains in smartphone reliance are for making purchases online and comparing prices/browsing products online. The smallest gain is for checking or responding to email, but to some degree that’s a reflection of this being a more popular smartphone-reliant activity in 2015 than most of the others.

For more, check out the full survey results here.

About the Data: The 2022 results are based on a January-February survey of 34,591 adults (18+), of whom 97% (32,704) reported having a smartphone.

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