1 in 5 US Smartphone Users Say They Have No Limits on Their Use of Apps and Services

August 27, 2021

This article is included in these additional categories:

Cross-Media & Traditional | Digital | Mobile Phone | Social Media | Video | Videogames

MEF Top Barrier Using More Apps Services Aug2021The vast majority of US adults now own a smartphone, with many spending time on their phones switching between different apps. And, while smartphone users are keen app users, there are barriers that keep many of them from using more apps or services, per a report [download page] from the Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF).

A global survey of 6,500 smartphone users shows that, in the US, about one-fifth (18% share) of smartphone users do not limit their mobile app and service usage. However, for those who do limit their app usage, there are an array of reasons. Some 16% of smartphone owners in the US overall say their reason for not using more apps and services is they don’t need to use more of them, while a similar share give their top reason as either their phone memory being too small for more apps (15%) or not trusting some apps or services (15%).

Another common barrier is not wanting to pay for apps or the data to use them (12% share). And, with other research from MEF finding that only about 2 in 5 global smartphone users believe mobile apps and services keep their data secure, it’s not surprising that 1 in 10 (11%) cite their top barrier to using more apps or services as not wanting to share their personal data.

A relatively small share (6%) of US respondents say they don’t use more apps because it’s too complicated or they don’t know how to do so. However, while smartphone users in the US think it’s important for mobile apps and services to be convenient and easy to use (average of 3.9 on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being extremely important), they agree this need is being met (3.9 average on a scale of 1- 5, with 5 being strongly agreed).

App Usage

Globally, the four most common ways smartphone users use apps are to play games (68%), listen to music (67%), use social media (63%) and watch video clips, TV or films (61%).

These are also the most common app activities in the US. Some 65% have played a game on an app, with 82% doing so at least once a week. With the number of US adults who stream music from their smartphones on the rise, MEF finds that 64% of US respondents have listened to music on their smartphones via apps or services. In fact, 86% of those who have listened to music this way say they do so at least once per week.

Of the 63% of US smartphone users who use social media apps, almost 9 in 10 (87%) use them at least weekly, while 85% of the 6 in 10 US smartphone users who watch videos on apps or services do so at least once a week.

The full report can be found here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a November/December 2020 survey of 6,500 smartphone users across 10 global markets (650 respondents each).

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