Daily Mobile Usage Trends – 2018


What are the mobile usage trends for 2018 and how can they help you to build a better strategy?  In this article we look through some 2018 daily mobile usage trends and statistics to help you better navigate how best to communicate and engage with your consumers.

Voice calls being made on mobile phones fell for the first time ever in 2017 in the UK.  According to the latest report from telecoms regulator Ofcom, which charts what it describes as a ‘decade of digital dependence’.  This fantastic report shows us how 2018 daily mobile usage trends have changed.

In the UK a total of 78% of all adults now own a smartphone.  People check them once every 12 minutes on average during their waking hours.

A third of adults check their phones just before falling asleep.  Two in five adults look at their phone within five minutes of waking, according to the report.  A high percentage (71%) say they never turn off their phones and 78% say they could not live without it.

However, the report finds that the total volume of calls made on mobiles fell by 1.7% in 2017. Though making them is the less expensive than it has ever been.  This does not necessarily mean people are talking less. Ofcom has not collated figures for chat apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, which accounts for some of the decline

While three-quarters of the British public still regard voice calling as an important function of their phones, more (92%) say web browsing is crucial.

Ofcom’s director of market intelligence Ian Macrae said “Over the last decade, people’s lives have been transformed by the rise of the smartphone, together with better access to the internet and new services.  Whether it is working flexibly, keeping up with current affairs or shopping online, we can do more on the move than ever before.  But while people appreciate their smartphone as their constant companion, some are finding themselves feeling overloaded when online.”

Data usage

According to the report, the average daily time spent on a smartphone is two hours 28 minutes, rising to three hours 14 minutes for 18 to 24-year-olds.  2018 daily mobile usage continues to rise.

Most people expect a constant internet connection.  The majority of adults say the internet is an essential part of their lives. One in five spend more than 40 hours a week online, as much as the average full time job.

The average is a more modest 24 hours a week online. More than half of that time spent on mobile phones.

Interestingly, women spent more time online than men, particularly in the age group 18 to 3. Females spent half an hour longer online than men.

Seven in 10 commuters use their smartphones on their journey to work. Around half say they use it to complete “essential tasks” whilst taking their journey.  On average, users get through 1.9GB (gigabytes) of data each month.

The amount of time people spend glued to screens has become a focus of the big tech firms in recent months.  Both Apple and Google offering dashboards built into their operating systems. These allow people to see how much time they spend on various apps and websites.  There is more to come on this area in the future. Mobylise continues to watch closely how tech firms respond to the changing dynamic of how devices are taking over our lives.


Meal times not off limits any more

Mobile phones are now integral to people’s lives.  This means they are having to develop a set of etiquette rules about their usage.

Over half agree that connected devices interrupt face-to-face conversations with family and friends. 43% confess to spending too much time online.

The majority of adults object to people using their phones during meal times.  We see this across all age groups.  But there is disagreement over whether it is acceptable to be on a phone while watching TV.  62% of the over-55s object compared with only 21% of those aged 18-34. TV viewing statistics also back up the ‘dual screening’ that we are now seeing from young adults in the UK.

The key function of a mobile device also divides the generations.  Older people think web browsing is the most crucial use of their devices. Youngsters, however, regard video streaming as more important than browsing.

Our obsession with our phones is good news for advertisers, as it allows a clear route to reaching consumers. Nearly a quarter of all online advertising spend is now on mobiles.  If mobile advertising was stripped away, ad revenue would be in decline for the first time.


Phone replacing TV?

Back in 2008, when people were asked what the most important device was that they owned, more than half the respondents to that year’s report said it was the TV.   Only 13% identifying their mobile phone as the crucial gadget.

Fast forward to 2018 and 48% regard their smartphone as the most important.  We then see this followed by the TV at  28%.  This huge transformation in usage cannot be ignored and brands and advertisers need to be paying close attention to this shift in behaviour.

The TV remains important though and despite the rise of on-demand and subscription services, broadcast TV still accounts for the majority (71%) of viewing time of content, but this will continue to change over the next 5 years.


What next?

If you’d like to talk about how these 2018 daily mobile usage trends and changing habits require a change in your marketing strategy, then please do get in touch.  We’d be delighted to discuss how we could work together.