The smartphone has become ever more embedded in the fabric of Americans and American life and, perhaps surprisingly, it is still the fastest growing mobile device, according to a new report from Deloitte.

The firm’s “2018 Global Mobile Consumer Survey” estimates that 270 million Americans use their smartphones a total of about 14 billion times daily. Penetration of the devices rose 3% over last year. People 45 years or age and older experienced the strongest growth.

“This year’s survey really advances the story of smartphones as the true center of our lives, both inside and outside the home,” Kevin Westcott, Deloitte LLP’s Vice Chairman and U.S. Telecommunications, Media and Entertainment Sector Leader, said in a press release. “While interest in other mobile technologies such as voice-assistance and IoT is there, the smartphone remains the go-to device for consumers, enabling them to do anything they desire: communicate, work, socialize, consume entertainment, stay fit or take care of things at home.”

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Thirty-nine percent of consumers believe that they use their devices too much, and 60% of 18- to 34-year-olds admit overuse. That’s the highest of any age group. The firm found that 63% of respondents try to limit their usage, and about half succeed. Seventy percent use smartphones at least occasionally for after-hours work.

Fastest Growing Mobile Device
In an interesting twist, Deloitte found that penetration of tablets declined from 62% to 57%. The company found:

  • Smartphones are the fastest growing mobile device of 10 device types studied. Their 3 percent growth rate is triple that of the one other device category with positive growth, smartwatches, now used by 14 percent of Americans.
  • Trailing smartphones in consumer penetration are laptops (77 percent), desktop computers (57 percent), tablets (57 percent), fitness bands (21 percent), virtual reality (VR) headsets (8 percent) and smartwatches (14 percent).
  • In daily usage, tablets (52 percent) now rank behind smartphones (94 percent), laptops (74 percent), desktop computers (71 percent), smartwatches (67 percent), and fitness bands (60 percent).
  • Daily usage for wearables, however, is growing for owners of fitness bands (60 percent versus 53 percent in 2017) and smartwatches (67 percent versus 62 percent in 2017).

Deloitte also found concerns about data and security, growing use of voice assistants, mixed interest in the IoT and an eagerness for 5G.

In last year’s version of the study, Deloitte found that smartphone penetration was 82% and that people access their phones 12 billion times a day.

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