2017 Report: Mobile Phone Usage & Addiction Levels Among Business Professionals

Opportunity surveyed professionals from it's member database of more than 2,000,000 professionals worldwide to better understand the current state of mobile phone usage, the popularity of apps, and the increasing levels of phone addiction around the world.


Opportunity surveyed a subset of it's more than 2,000,000 members worldwide to understand a number of of trends related to mobile phone usage among professionals age 18+.  Respondents came from all over the globe with the most replies coming from the United States (16%), India (14%), Kenya (6%), and Mexico, South Africa and Portugal (4%) respectively.  The overall breakdown of phone types (operating systems) were Android (61%), iOS (36%) and Blackberry (3%). Males made up 78% of respondents vs. 22% female - (note: this survey had a slightly more male bias versus the 65% Opportunity male population).   Lastly, the age breakdown of those who replied to our survey was as follows:  18-34 years (22%), 35 - 49 years(46%),  50-64 years (27%), 65+ years (5%).  Trends the survey hoped to understand included:  Phone Usage & Addiction, Popularity of Apps, Psychological Impacts, and more.  Below are the findings with additional obversvations based on a more detailed view of gender, location and age.

What We Found

Phone addiction among professionals is real.  On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being zero levels of addiction and 10 being highly addicted) the average professional rated themselves as having a 6.26 level of addiction to their phone.  The 6.26 average rating placed most people at a level slightly higher than 'moderately addicted'. Over 60% of respondents classified themselves as moderately addicted, with 20% claiming to be highly addicted.  Less than 5% of those surveyed perceived themselves as having zero (or nearly zero) addiction. 

Looking deeper into the data, the age group that rated themselves to be the most addicted were those ranging in age from 35-49 years with an addiction rating of 6.45. The age group rating themselves to be the least addicted were people 65+ years with a rating of only 5.08.  Additionally, iOS users had a higher addiction rating than Android users (6.74 vs. 6.14).  Blackberry users claimed an addiction of only 5.25.  Broken down by gender, females had an average of 6.60 level of addiction versus males who claimed a 6.18 level of addiction.  Lastly, professionals in the United States had a 6.11 level of addiction versus those in India (5.84), Kenya (7.18), and Mexico (7.33). 

When asked, most respondents (42%) indicated that they feel as though they are becoming more addicted to their phone with each passing year with 35% claiming no increase in addiction and 23% claiming less addiction than the prior year.  When asked about how they feel when unable to use their phone for an extended period of time (lost, broken, etc), users claimed a certain degree of anxiety with 36% feeling somewhat anxious, 13% highly anxious and 5% completely miserable.  35% of respondents feel no difference when unable to access their phone with 11% claiming to feel relieved - perhaps lending additional insight into the feeling of addiction. 

Reflected in these addiction numbers was also the number of times respondents claimed to check their phone on a daily basis.  As you can see, the largest % of respondents check their phone over 50 times per day - which basically equates to these users checking their phones 4-5 times each waking hour.  

Number of Times Phone Is Checked (daily)

Regarding people's time spent on their mobile phones, the most popular use of time were as follows:

Most Popular Use of Phone

With increased addiction to phone usage also comes the question of our attention spans and the ability to focus on tasks without allowing ourselves to be interrupted by notifications (SMS, Apps, etc.) and incoming phone calls.  The interesting finding here is that the majority of people feel as though OTHERS are unable to focus (74%) and lack the ability to remain attentive, while THEY themselves have no problem focusing and are able to remain attentive.  In other words, people think everyone else has attention issues due to their mobile device. 

Change in YOUR Ability to Focus
Change in OTHERS Ability to Focus

Lastly, with social media, email and news commanding so much of our attention within the phone, we took a closer look at how many apps people have downloaded to their phone, how many are used... and of those used, which are the most popular. What we found was that regardless of the number of apps a user downloads and installs, the number of apps actually being used and consuming their time is limited to just a few. 

Number of Apps Downloaded
Number of Apps Used Daily

The top 5 most popular apps being used by the professionals surveyed are listed below (in order of popularity).  Note: The use of Whatsapp was nearly triple the next most popular app - reflecting the popularity of the Facebook owned communication app around the world.

1. Whatsapp
2. Email (Outlook, Gmail, etc.)
3. Facebook
4. Google (Search)
5. Instagram


Datasource: Opportunity

Opportunity shall not be held liable for improper or incorrect use of the data described or information contained on these pages. The data, information and related graphics are not legal documents and are not intended to be used as such. Opportunity gives no warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, utility or completeness of this information.