A nation obsessed? Britons check their handsets every four minutes

25th February 2016


Britons touch their smartphones on average every four minutes, spending typically two hours and nine minutes a day on their devices.

The analysis from Direct Line Home Insurance revealed that an average user spends 10% of their waking hours interacting with their phone, supporting arguments that some are addicted and simply cannot put them down.

It also concluded that we interact with our phones 253 times a day, constantly opening different apps, checking updates and sending messages.

The insurer’s social experiment saw researchers load software onto smartphones which recorded every interaction users had with their device.

It analysed every app opened and how many times people used it, how long they spent browsing the web and how much time was spent talking and texting.

The research also found how dated the term mobile ‘phone’ has become, as people spend just 13% of their time making voice calls.

The number one use for a smartphone is social networking, with people spending 24% of their phone time accessing services such as Facebook and Twitter.

People spend almost as much time each day using messaging services, at 12%, or browsing the web, 9%.

Analysis of smartphone usage

Rank Most popular app group Percentage of daily phone usage
1 Social networking 24%
2 Voice calls 13%
3 Instant messaging 12%
System tools 12%
5 Browser 9%
6 Gaming 8%
Miscellaneous 8%
8 Video 3%
9 Email 2%
Online shopping 2%

Source:  Direct Line Home Insurance

Katie Lomas, head of Direct Line Home Insurance, commented: “This study really does show how attached our customers are to their smartphones, as users constantly dip in and out of apps, checking for updates even when at work.  We increasingly rely on our phones to be a personal assistant – providing directions, reminding us of birthdays, handling our banking needs – the list is endless.

“The research shows people use their phones every seven minutes while at work.  Brits access their phones 73 times during a typical work day of 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.  While some employers may think employees are slacking, the research shows it isn’t all social media updates and gaming, as employees use their devices for scheduling meetings, to direct them to meetings and to call colleagues.”

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