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NorthridgeGroup Common Mobile Phone Activities Oct2021Some 85% of US adults own a smartphone, and they spend a lot of time using their devices. Mobile accounted for 8 in 10 minutes spent with digital in 2020, and 38% of consumers say they check their phone every few minutes. Mobile phone users turn to their devices for a plethora of activities, and the latest report [download page] from The Northridge Group reveals which activities are the most common.

Excluding calling and texting, email is the most common activity mobile users participate in. Some 8 in 10 (83%) say they use their phone for email. General web usage is also a popular activity, with some 76% saying they surf the internet on their phones. And, although more consumers say they use their mobile phone to take photos (83%), the report’s findings indicate they tend to do this with less frequency than email or surf the internet.

The most common mobile activities differ between Gen Z and all other age groups. While other age groups appear to use their phone mostly for what might be considered more productive purposes such as email (86% vs 73% Gen Z) and directions (76% vs. 63%), Gen Z are more likely to be using their mobiles for entertainment. Gen Z are more likely than the average of other age groups to spend time on their mobiles listening to music (78% Gen Z vs. 64% other ages), watching short video clips and messages (71% vs. 64%) and watching TV or movies (69% vs. 39%).

There also appear to be some differences in mobile activities between genders. Women use their phones for more activities in general than men, outpacing men in every category except reading the news (59% of men vs. 56% of women) and online video gaming (39% vs. 32%).

Separately, when it comes to awareness of 5G technology, nearly all (98%) mobile users have heard of 5G. More than 6 in 10 (63%) say they have some understanding of 5G, including 26% saying they have a strong understanding.

Interest in 5G is also high, with 63% saying they are interested in 5G. For these mobile users, the top reasons for their interst include faster streaming, upload and download speeds (68%), more network reliability (63%), and broader service coverage (54%).

Only 5% say they prefer not to get onto a 5G network, with these few saying they don’t want to get a new device (37%), lack trust in 5G (especially related to health concerns; 32%) and harbor concerns about increased costs (27%).

Read the full report here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a May survey of 1,400 US consumers ages 14-70 who use a mobile phone.

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