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What Are Smartphones Used For?

Updated on December 4, 2012

Typical Smartphone

Considering what we use our smartphones for, does it make sense to spend an average of $1700 per year on our smartphones?
Considering what we use our smartphones for, does it make sense to spend an average of $1700 per year on our smartphones? | Source

Average Cost of Smartphones

According to the Wall Street Journal, the average cost of a two-year smartphone contract including data, texts and minutes is $2,100. That average cost climbs to $3,400 after adding in taxes, overage charges and miscellaneous fees. Considering what we use them for, does it make sense to spend an average of $1,700 per year on our smartphones?

Top 10 Uses of Smartphones

To decide if it makes sense to spend $1,700 per year on our smartphones, we need to consider how we use them.

In terms of total time, we spend an average of 2 hours 6 minutes on our smartphones each day, according to a study done by O2 in the United Kingdom. That works out to 766.5 hours per year. Thus, we spend an average of $2.22 per hour to use our smartphones. That's surprisingly reasonable when we consider our smartphones take care of our mobile communication needs and also provide a constant stream of entertainment including listening to music, reading e-books, and playing games.

What are we doing during the 2 hours 6 minutes spent each day on our smartphones? Here are the top 10 uses of our smartphones in terms of time:


How We Use Smartphones

Use
Average Time Per Day
Browsing the Internet
24.5 minutes
Checking Social Networking Sites
17.3 minutes
Listening to Music
15.4 minutes
Playing Games
14.3 minutes
Making Calls
12.1 minutes
Emails
11.1 minutes
Text Messaging
10.1 minutes
Watching Video
9.2 minutes
Reading e-Books
9.2 minutes
Taking Photographs
3.3 minutes

Surprisingly, talking is only the 5th most popular activity. At 12.1 minutes per day, time spent making calls is only 10% of the time spent on our smartphones.

The most popular use of smartphones is browsing the Internet. At 24.5 minutes per day, time spent browsing is 20% of the time spent on our smartphones. Its not surprising to learn people frequently use their smartphones to browse the Internet as this is their main advantage over regular cell phones. Per the Pew Research Center, 84% of smartphone owners use their smartphones to browse the Internet.

Whether these uses of smartphones are worth $1,700 per year depends on the user. For many people, the average cost of $2.22 per hour will seem reasonable considering all the smartphone's communications and entertainment uses. For other people, there are less expensive alternatives available, such as regular cell phones and mp3 players.

Other Uses of Smartphones

Smartphones are versatile devices with many other uses. In fact, smartphones are so versatile that owners often substitute their smartphones for other devices, including:

  • Substituting for an alarm clock (54% of smartphone users)
  • Substituting for a watch (46% of smartphone users)
  • Substituting for a camera (39% of smartphone users)
  • Substituting for a laptop (28% of smartphone users)
  • Substituting for a game console (11% of smartphone users)
  • Substituting for a TV (6% of smartphone users)
  • Substituting for physical books (6% of smartphone users)

By substituting their smartphones for other devices, smartphone owners effectively decrease the average smartphone cost of $1,700 per year by the amount they would have spent on the other devices. These owners are much more likely to think that $1,700 per year is reasonable.

So ... Are Smartphone Worth It?

Obviously, millions of consumers have decided spending an average of $1,700 per year on their smartphone is worth it. For these people, spending an average of $2.22 per hour to satisfy their mobile communication and entertainment needs is a bargain. Owners are even more likely to think their smartphones are worth it when they substitute their smartphones for one or more other devices.

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    • eHealer profile image

      Deborah 4 years ago from Las Vegas

      Hello Tips, I had no idea I was spending that much money on my phone, when I added it up, you were so right! I spend about 1788 per year! Excellent hub and voted up!

    • aykianink profile image

      aykianink 4 years ago

      " That average cost climbs to $3,400 after adding in taxes, overage charges and miscellaneous fees." As I've heard someone else say before, "That's how they getcha."

      The math is a lot less disgusting than I thought. Very interesting hub.