Has Our Dependency on Smartphones Gone Too Far?

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Consumers are well aware that smartphones have an “addictive” nature. These mobile devices allow us to stay connected with friends, family, and an endless supply of information no matter where we are. A new study from Apigee Institute and the Sandford University Mobile Innovation Group assessed the “dependency” smartphone users feel with their devices and how that dependency influences their social lives.

92% of respondents said smartphones have changed the way they interact with friends, and 49% say they even changed the way they date. A surprising 58% said their phones have helped them manage their health differently, while 84% say they have changed the way they shop.

But one in six respondents (17%) said they could not do their job without apps. Nearly one in five (19%) said they would have trouble making new friends or maintaining a relationship with their partner without their apps.

The study looked at a group of people classified as “top app users,” representing the top 25% of smartphone owners based on their frequency of app usage. Dependency was strongest with this group, and 55% of them reported they use at least one app every hour. Many of the participants in this category said they engage with their phones “nearly all the time,” even if that means interrupting conversations and interactions with people they may be with.

Top app users show no signs of wanting to lessen their dependency, with 90% saying they plan to download just as many apps this year as they did last year. 45% of participants say they plan to download even more apps in the coming months.

30% of all smartphone users participating in the survey said they plan to increase their smartphone usage in 2015, and 32% say they will download more apps this year than they did previously.

As smartphone sales continue to increase on a global scale, there is no question that this dependency may grow over the next few years.

About John Oldshue

John Oldshue is the creator of SaveOnPhone.com. He worked for over 15 years in television and won an Emmy award for his reporting. He covers long distance and cell phone topics for SaveOnPhone.