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Smartphone Obsession: Americans Increasingly Depend on Smartphones for Everyday Life

January 4, 2016 By Finley Engineering in

An obsession with mobile devices is changing American lifestyles. U.S. smartphone and tablet ownership rates are 9 and 10 percent higher than they were a year ago, and device owners are using them more frequently and for a widening variety of purposes – for navigation while driving, managing home energy use and devices, making financial payments, and monitoring health and lifestyle attributes, according to the U.S. edition of Deloitte’s 2015 Global Mobile Consumer Survey.

Mobile Payment Growth

For instance, 2015 has shaped up to be a ¨breakout¨ year for mobile payments technology. In-store m-payments nearly quadrupled this year as compared to 2014, rising to 18 percent from 5 percent in 2014, Deloitte highlights in a press release.

Nonetheless, the m-payments market holds a lot more potential, the largest for mobile device usage, Deloitte says. Just 20 percent of consumers purchase goods or services in stores using their mobile phones.

The most popular use of m-payments was for public parking (19 percent), gas station purchases (18 percent), coffee shops and fast-food dining (17 percent each). In addition, Deloitte found that nearly one-third of respondents who browse online shopping sites make m-payments. Those ages 25-34 made the most m-payments (36 percent). Those ages 45-74 accounted for less than 10 percent.

IoT Trends

The U.S. edition of Deloitte’s 2015 Global Mobile Consumer Survey also provides evidence in support of another fast-emerging Internet trend. U.S. consumers are more open to making use of ¨Internet of Things¨ (IoT) technology, such as home and health monitoring and self-driving cars.

Nearly 7 in 10 respondents (68 percent) expressed interest in car-based IoT, the first time such strong interest has been expressed in the five years of producing the annual study. That’s 15 percent higher than respondents’ interest in home-based IoT technology and 9 percent above that for personal IoT, such as wearable tech devices.

On average, nearly 6 in 10 (58 percent) said they’re willing to pay for home-based IoT as compared to 55 percent for car-based IoT. That said, Deloitte believes consumers may be willing to pay for these lower interest applications of IoT if the price points are low enough and functionality is cutting-edge.

Survey respondents also expressed much stronger interest in autonomous cars than they did in the past. Nearly 6 in 10 (58 percent) said they would consider owning one eventually or riding in one. Twenty percent under 44 years of age said they’re ready to own one now. Reducing the stress associated with driving was seen as the most important motivating factor.

The Smart Home

Survey responses also indicated positive signs for growth in smart utilities and smart home IoT. Fourteen percent of respondents said they use a smartphone to check electricity and gas usage. Fourteen percent also said they use their smartphones to adjust temperature in their homes and 13 percent to adjust lighting. Twelve percent use them to turn on heating and air conditioning.

Given that there are some 124 million households in the U.S., this equates to approximately 15 million to 17 million people using smart home and smart utility functions at least weekly, Deloitte points out.

Security ranked ahead of privacy when it came to respondents’ concerns regarding smart home IoT. Nearly half (48 percent) cited concerns about someone hacking into a home IoT system to steal or cause damage. One-third said concerns about protecting personal information were the highest ranking smart home IoT privacy concern.