If smartphones weren’t an indispensable part of our everyday lives already, their position in the daily scheme of things has been further strengthened during the covid-19 pandemic, especially for Indian consumers. But how does that affect a consumer’s digital behaviour?
Findings from a new consumer survey report released on 14 December by global technology company vivo reveal that there has been a 25% increase in the average daily time spent on smartphones by Indian users in the post-covid era, from April this year. In 2019, Indian users spent an average of 4.9 hours on their smartphones daily. This increased to 5.5 hours till March this year and then to approximately 6.9 hours April onwards, according to the second edition of the ‘Smartphones and their impact on human relationships’ report, which was first released in 2019. Users have been busy with their phones mostly for activities like gaming (45% users), social media (55% users) and OTT platforms (59% users). Another interesting but obvious finding is that 75% of the users were on their phones for office work, given the fact that most of the workforce was working from home during the early part of the year.
The study was conducted by CyberMedia Research, a leading market research and advisory firm, across top 8 Indian cities: Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Pune. The report cuts across different age groups and demographics: youth, working professionals, housewives, spanning the age group of 15 to 45. Out of the total 2,000 respondents, 30% were female and 70% male.
So how deeply ingrained have smartphones become? Look at it this way: if you go by the daily average of time spent on phones by Indian users April onwards, which is roughly 7 hours daily, that translates to 2,500 hours in a year. For two out of every three users sampled in this survey, their smartphones are the last thing they see before going to bed and the first thing they look at when they wake up. Around 84% users check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up. Only 18% of users switched off their phones on their own for more than one hour.
The amount of time Indian users have spent on smartphones this year has also had ramifications elsewhere. Around 89% of the users agreed that excessive use of their smartphone was having an impact on the quality of time spent with their loved ones. And approximately 74% felt that it was important to have a life away from your smartphone.
While the larger debate on smartphone addiction, digital well-being and how it affects a person is changing every day, the findings also revealed that, slowly yet steadily, users are realizing the importance of unplugging from their smartphones once in a while. Around 68% of the users admitted that the amount of time they spend on their phone makes them feel guilty. More importantly, around 73% users said they would be happier if they spent less time on their smartphones.