U.S. smartphone owners are spending much more time using mobile data services than they are talking on their mobile devices, according to  the latest research from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). On average, U.S. smartphone owners now spend 114 minutes daily using their mobile devices, according to CEA’s “Smartphones: Consumer Behavioral Trends,” report.

Talking still ranked as the single most common smartphone activity in terms of smartphone usage: the time U.S. smartphone owners spent talking on their devices daily averaged 23 minutes, according to a CEA press release. Texting (20 minutes), email use (18 minutes), website viewing (16 minutes), and social networking (11 minutes) – all of which require data connectivity – rounded out the top 5.

“The degree to which consumers use their smartphones primarily as data information hubs, mostly forgoing devices’ traditional purpose, is significant,” commented Shawn DuBravac, CEA chief economist and senior director of research. “Smartphones have become the viewfinder of our digital life. How smartphone utilization evolves has incredible implications moving forward.”

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Two-thirds of online U.S. consumers owned smartphones as of this August, according to CEA. Forty-five percent of all consumers indicated they intend to purchase one within the next 12 months. For those who do not own a smartphone at present, 61% said they expect to purchase one at some future date.

“With growing ownership rates, it should be expected that the beginning signs of market saturation may appear within the next couple of years,” CEA senior research analyst Kevin Tillmann elaborated. “Yet, the near-term outlook for consumer purchase and upgrade intent remains bright for these devices, a positive sign that the smartphone market will continue to grow with new owners through 2014.”

Monitoring online social media conversations regarding which smartphone features were most discussed, CEA found that body color, battery and design topped the list. “Online consumer social media conversations indicate manufacturers are addressing the features that consumers are most passionate about discussing based on recent smartphone model announcements,” Tillmann commented.

In addition, CEA found that U.S. smartphone owners are using a variety of apps. The most popular, at 73%, was weather apps. Sixty percent said they use social media apps, followed by games at 57%, photo and video apps at 55%, and navigation at 55%.

More than half said they have used their smartphones to shop online. More smartphone shoppers (35%) said they prefer mobile websites in doing so as opposed to apps (32%) or the full website (32%).

 

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