Study shows Irish people check points 58 times a day

The impact of Covid has been monitored too, with 40% of Irish workers claiming it is easier to work from home compared to only 26% for UK workers, while 45% of women found it easier compared to men at 35%.

Irish people check their phones on average 58 times per day, according to the first publication of Deloitte Ireland’s Digital Consumer Trends 2020 report.

Previously known as the Global Mobile Consumer Survey, the survey was carried out between May and June this year, as the country began to exit COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. The survey also found that 50% of respondents would support the Government's usage of information generated by smartphone or other devices for contact tracing and 63% would support the use of heat sensitive (thermal) cameras in well-populated areas.

It found that almost a third (32%) of us look at our phones over 50 times a day, and that 87% of phone users check their phone within the first hour of waking up, with a third of people checking their phone within the first five minutes – both increasing on 2019.

More than two thirds of 18-24 year-olds believe they use their smartphones too much, while almost two out of ever three people now use their phone to regularly check bank balances, and for over 50% it is the preferred device to do so.

Tablet devices also saw the biggest year-on-year increase in ownership, from 43% in 2019 to 64% in 2020.

The impact of Covid has been monitored too, with 40% of Irish workers claiming it is easier to work from home compared to only 26% for UK workers, while 45% of women found it easier compared to men at 35%.

Over a quarter of those working from home were working longer hours.

As for contact tracing during the pandemic, half of respondents would support the Government's usage of information generated by smartphone or other devices for contact tracing.

Some 63% of respondents meanwhile said they would support the use of heat-sensitive (thermal) cameras in well-populated areas to identify those with high temperatures.

Commenting on the report, Harry Goddard, CEO, Deloitte Ireland said: “Technology has provided a huge array of opportunities for individuals, organisations, communities and even governments to adapt to new ways of working and living during the COVID-19 crisis. Despite the challenges associated with the pandemic, technology has increasingly become an integral part of all of our lives, and will continue to have a significant role to play in the fight against COVID-19 at home and across the world.”

In this first of five publications arising from the report, we look at trends in respondents’ digital usage and the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on device usage.

Device usage

Smartphone ownership in Ireland saw a slight decrease for the second year in a row at 90% (compared to 91% in 2019 and 94% in 2018). This is consistent with trends across Europe. Notably, ownership of standard mobile phones increased by 5% (from 9% in 2019 to 14% in 2020).

Ownership of laptops also saw a slight decrease at 83%, compared to 84% in 2019. Tablet devices saw the biggest year-on-year increase in ownership, from 43% in 2019 to 64% in 2020. There was also an increase in ownership of fitness bands (from 24% to 29%) and virtual reality headsets (from 5% to 8%). Ownership of desktop computers remained the same at 41%.

A third (33%) of all respondents report that they look at their phone within five minutes of waking, an increase of 2% on 2019. 87% look at their phone within the first hour of waking, up 3% on last year. When it comes to the number of times we are checking our phones during the day there were significant differences between age groups: 17% of 18-24-year-olds report checking their phones over 200 times a day: this falls to 10% among the 25-24 bracket; 8% among 35-44s; 7% among 45-54s; and once a day or less among the 55 – 75 age group.

Perception of smartphone usage also varies with age, with younger respondents more likely to feel that they are prone to over-usage. Overall, 46% of respondents feel that they are using their smartphones too much; this rises to 65% of 18-24 year-olds and 66% of 25-34s. The 35-44 and 45-54 age groups are also more likely than average to believe that they overuse their smartphones at 63% and 52% respectively. Meanwhile 37% of 55-64s admitted to overuse, and 32% of 65-75s.

The most popular financial activity carried out on mobile phones is checking bank balances (62%), followed by browsing shopping websites or apps (52%), buying products online (43%) and making banking transactions (41%). This year mobile has replaced laptop as the preferred device for making online purchases among the 18-24 and 35-44 demographics. 26% of all respondents use their mobile phones to make reservations while 16% do their online grocery shopping on mobile.

Daryl Hanberry, Partner and Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications at Deloitte, noted: “While smartphone penetration appears to have plateaued across Europe, our reliance on these devices has not faltered, with almost a third of us now checking our phones more than 50 times a day, and usage rates even higher among younger consumers. As mobiles begin to replace laptops as the preferred device for making online purchases – not just browsing – and especially as remote engagement becomes even more important, businesses must prioritise their mobile offerings or risk being left behind.”

While a total of 91% reported owning a smartphone, these devices are used daily by 93% of all respondents. Daily usage of laptops has increased from 69% to 76% year-on-year, while daily usage of desktop computers is down from 66% to 59%, reflecting the work-from-home mandate that was introduced in March of this year.

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