US Insights

How Americans Use and Feel About Their Mobile Phones

Ross Tucker

Executive Editor Kantar US Insights

Mobile 03.06.2018 / 12:00

Women, dog and mobile phone

Reliance on mobile phones gives rise to digital anxiety.

Another edition of Mobile World Congress has wrapped up and the world’s phone manufacturers have trotted out their latest and greatest products. Now consumers will decide if the new bells and whistles actually enhance their mobile experience. And how, exactly, are consumers using their phones?

To find out, we leveraged our Lightspeed millennial panel, VICE Voices, getting more than 5,000 Americans to tell us everything from their favorite brands to how anxious they get when a screen is cracked or they approach a data limit.

Most-Owned Brands

Apple and Samsung are the most-owned phone brands among American men and women, accounting for more than 70% of the market. While Apple doesn’t attend MWC, Samsung was there in force to show off the Galaxy S9, which met with favorable reviews.

“Samsung’s focus away from internal hardware spec improvements for the Galaxy S9 (which are there) and more towards fun, interactive and useful software, has meant that the Galaxy S9 appears more customer centric than ever with a dose of playfulness that might just give it the edge,” said Dominic Sunnebo Global Director for Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Usage Habits

Americans, like most people around the world, are practically tethered to their phones at this point. According to our research, men and women are remarkably similar when it comes to how often they check their phones, with around 20% saying it’s never out of their hands and some 34% saying they check it “every few minutes.”

American consumers are getting increasingly comfortable with using their phones to make purchases, both online and in stores. More than 80% of respondents said they sometimes or always use their phones to buy things online. Women seem to be marginally more accepting of buying items on their phones. Approximately 70% of respondents said they sometimes or always use their phones to purchase an item in a store.

Digital Anxiety

Concerns about the mental health impacts of excessive cell phone use are already turning up in medical studies. As phones become more integral in our lives, those anxiety levels are likely to rise. Survey respondents reported having high levels of “digital anxiety” when a screen breaks, when the phone is down to 2% battery life and when storage space is used up. One of the leading anxiety triggers we found was a fear of losing personal data. Phones are holding more and more of the data that defines our lives and personalities - photos, videos, messages and music. A sudden loss of that information makes women in particular very anxious.


Source: Kantar, Lightspeed

Editor's Notes

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