The latest annual survey of mobile customers by Deloitte finds that as smartphones become more and more prevalent, Americans appear to be moderating the use of their devices.
The consulting giant’s 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey found that 264 million Americans combined to use their mobile phones 12 billion times per day, and that smartphones reached 82 percent of the potential market. Smartphones saw the highest penetration in the age 18-24 demographic, but the strongest growth, for the second consecutive year, was among those age 55 and older.
In addition, Deloitte analysts said that usage of devices and apps appears to be maturing. Users checked their phones 47 times per day on average, but that number remained stable for the third year in a row. Nearly half of respondents, meanwhile, reported making conscious efforts to limit their smartphone use.
The average number of apps downloaded and installed edged up from 22 in last year’s survey to 23 in the latest report. Text messages were used by more than 90 percent of respondents, but voice service rebounded from a four-year decline after 86 percent said they made a phone call at least once per week.
The 2017 report also documented a “dramatic” shift to long-form video among mobile users as 27 percent — compared to 14 percent last year — reported watching live TV on their devices.
Despite the apparent maturity of the smartphone market, consumer interest in a wave of forthcoming technology — including the Internet of Things and 5G — remained high.
In addition, nearly two-third of respondents visited a carrier store in the past year and about the same percentage continued to replace their phones every two years even though carriers largely phased out price subsidies.
Although a majority of poll respondents listed price as the primary factor in choosing a wireless carrier and plan, 25 percent touted the freedom provided by unlimited data plans as their top priority.
The Deloitte survey found that more than two-thirds of participants preferred WiFi over 4G, but analysts suggested that trend could shift as the industry moves toward 5G networks — perhaps as soon as next year.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time for both the mobile ecosystem and consumers as we anticipate this next wave of innovation that will further change the way we live and work across generations,” Craig Wigginton, who leads Deloitte’s telecom group, said in a statement.