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Time Spent Using Smartphones (2022 Statistics)

by Josh Howarth
September 16, 2022

In a relatively short period of time, smartphones have grown to a near-ubiquitous status.

With each passing new release, smartphones are becoming more powerful and all-encompassing. Understandably, this is leading to increased user adoption and a surge in daily screen time.

We’ll explore the statistics around smartphone screen time, breaking things down into these subcategories:

Time Spent on Smartphone Stats 2022 (Editor’s Picks)

Here are some highlights from this smartphone stats page:

  • On average, people spend 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phones per day.
  • Individuals check their phones an average of 58 times each day.
  • Filipinos spend the highest amount of average time on their phones each day.
  • Japanese citizens spend under half of the global average time on their smartphones.
  • 3 in 4 Gen Zers claim to spend too much time on their smartphones.

For further context and more data, keep reading.

Time Spent Using Smartphones in 2022

According to recent data, the average person spends 3 hours and 15 minutes on their phone each day. And 1 in 5 smartphone users spends upwards of 4.5 hours on average on their phones every day.

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Perhaps surprisingly, weekdays average more smartphone use than weekends. On average, people check their phones 58 times per day. And almost 52% of phone checks (30 per day) occur during work hours.

Picking your phone up can become a habit as data shows that half of all screen time sessions begin within 3 minutes of the last.

Here’s a breakdown of time spent on smartphones by pick up:

Time Spent on Smartphone Average Amount of Times Per Day Percentage of Daily Pick Ups
Less Than 2 Minutes 40 69%
2 to 10 Minutes 15 26%
10+ Minutes 3 5%

Across the day, the mean time spent on a smartphone per pick-up is around 1 minute 15 seconds.

Source: Rescue Time

Time Spent Using Smartphones by Region

Data from Q3 2021, shows that citizens of the Philippines spend over 5 hours 30 minutes per day on their smartphones.

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In total, 7 countries exceed 5 hours of screen time per day on their phones. And 18 nations examined exceeded the average for Q3 2021 (3 hours 43 minutes).

Only 1 European nation exceeded the worldwide average - Turkey (4 hours 16 minutes). While 4 South-East Asian countries made up the top 10.

Here’s the full breakdown of each nation’s daily smartphone use in hours and minutes:

Rank Country Continent Time Spent on Smartphone per Day Comparison to Average Comparison to Average (%)
1 Philippines Asia 5 hours 47 mins + 2 hours 4 mins ↑ 35.7%
2 Thailand Asia 5 hours 28 mins + 1 hour 45 mins ↑ 32%
3 Brazil South America 5 hours 25 mins + 1 hour 42 mins ↑ 31.4%
=4 Colombia South America 5 hours 9 mins + 1 hour 26 mins ↑ 27.8%
=4 South Africa Africa 5 hours 9 mins + 1 hour 26 mins ↑ 27.8%
=6 Argentina South America 5 hours 4 mins + 1 hour 21 mins ↑ 26.6%
=6 Nigeria Africa 5 hours 4 mins + 1 hour 21 mins ↑ 26.6%
8 Indonesia Asia 4 hours 56 mins + 1 hour 13 mins ↑ 24.7%
9 Malaysia Asia 4 hours 49 mins + 1 hour 6 mins ↑ 22.8%
10 Mexico North America 4 hours 37 mins + 54 mins ↑ 19.5%
=11 Saudi Arabia Asia 4 hours 35 mins + 52 mins ↑ 18.9%
=11 UAE Asia 4 hours 35 mins + 52 mins ↑ 18.9%
13 Ghana Africa 4 hours 34 mins + 51 mins ↑ 18.6%
14 Egypt Africa 4 hours 25 mins + 42 mins ↑ 15.8%
15 Turkey Europe/Asia 4 hours 16 mins + 33 mins ↑ 12.9%
16 Taiwan Asia 4 hours 12 mins + 29 mins ↑ 11.5%
17 India Asia 4 hours 5 mins + 22 mins ↑ 9%
18 Kenya Africa 3 hours 51 mins + 8 mins ↑ 3.5%
- Global Average - 3 hours 43 mins - -
19 Romania Europe 3 hours 41 mins - 2 mins ↓ 0.9%
20 Russia Europe/Asia 3 hours 39 mins - 4 mins ↓ 1.8%
21 Singapore Asia 3 hours 38 mins - 5 mins ↓ 2.3%
22 Morocco Africa 3 hours 35 mins - 8 mins ↓ 3.7%
23 Portugal Europe 3 hours 34 mins - 9 mins ↓ 4.2%
=25 Vietnam Asia 3 hours 32 mins - 11 mins ↓ 5.2%
=25 Hong Kong Asia 3 hours 32 mins - 11 mins ↓ 5.2%
26 Israel Asia 3 hours 31 mins - 12 mins ↓ 5.7%
27 US North America 3 hours 30 mins - 13 mins ↓ 6.2%
28 China Asia 3 hours 6 mins - 37 mins ↓ 19.9%
29 Ireland Europe 3 hours 5 mins - 38 mins ↓ 20.5%
30 New Zealand Oceania 2 hours 59 mins - 44 mins ↓ 24.6%
31 Poland Europe 2 hours 58 mins - 45 mins ↓ 25.3%
32 Sweden Europe 2 hours 55 mins - 48 mins ↓ 27.4%
33 Canada North America 2 hours 51 mins - 52 mins ↓ 30.4%
34 Australia Oceania 2 hours 49 mins - 54 mins ↓ 32%
35 Spain Europe 2 hours 48 mins - 55 mins ↓ 32.7%
36 South Korea Asia 2 hours 46 mins - 57 mins ↓ 34.3%
37 Italy Europe 2 hours 45 mins - 58 mins ↓ 35.2%
38 UK Europe 2 hours 41 mins - 1 hour 2 mins ↓ 38.5%
39 Greece Europe 2 hours 37 mins - 1 hour 6 mins ↓ 42%
=40 Austria Europe 2 hours 29 mins - 1 hour 14 mins ↓ 49.7%
=40 Switzerland Europe 2 hours 29 mins - 1 hour 14 mins ↓ 49.7%
42 Netherlands Europe 2 hours 22 mins - 1 hour 21 mins ↓ 57%
=43 Belgium Europe 2 hours 19 mins - 1 hour 23 mins ↓ 60.4%
=43 France Europe 2 hours 19 mins - 1 hour 23 mins ↓ 60.4%
45 Germany Europe 2 hours 14 mins - 1 hour 28 mins ↓ 66.4%
46 Denmark Europe 2 hours 13 mins - 1 hour 29 mins ↓ 67.7%
47 Japan Asia 1 hour 39 mins - 2 hours 4 mins ↓ 125.3%

Source: DataReportal

Smartphone Use in the US

Almost half (46%) of Americans believe they spend an average of 4 to 5 hours on their smartphones each day.

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While 22% claim to spend between 3 and 4 hours on their phones. And 16% think they spend an average of 1 to 2 hours on their phone per day.

On the extreme end of the spectrum, 11% claim to spend 7+ hours on their phones each day. And just 1 in 20 (5%) Americans stated they use their phones less than 1 hour per day.

A 2021 survey of 3,000+ Americans found that Mississippi had the highest average time spent on smartphones per capita at 5.67 hours (5 hours 40 mins).

On the other end of the spectrum, Ohio had the lowest average screen time per person each day at 3.6 hours (3 hours 36 mins). All 48 states with sufficient data total a higher average screen time than the Q3 2021 DataReportal research above.

Mississippi experienced the largest change in smartphone use between 2019 and 2021, increasing by more than 130% in those two years.

Here are the top five states by increased smartphone use between 2019 and 2021:

  1. Mississippi - ↑ 132.8%
  2. Oklahoma - ↑ 132.1%
  3. Alaska - ↑ 128.3%
  4. Kentucky - ↑ 120.2%
  5. New Hampshire - ↑ 107.1%

And these are the bottom five states by increased smartphone use between 2019 and 2021:

  1. Arizona - ↓ 21.2%
  2. Ohio - ↓ 6.5%
  3. Nevada - ↑ 0.4%
  4. Pennsylvania - ↑ 3.2%
  5. Tennessee - ↑ 12.2%

The general trend of increased phone use is expected to continue to increase in the US.

Back in 2019, the average time spent on non-voice activities on smartphones in the US totaled an average of 3 hours 45 minutes.

This figure has increased year-over-year, reaching an estimated 4 hours 29 minutes in 2022. And is projected to climb further to 4 hours 35 minutes by 2023.

Source: SellCell, SimpleTexting, eMarketer

Smartphone Use by Nation Over Time

Thailand

Thailand has one of the highest average smartphone use duration per capita per day in the world.

Between 2019 and 2020, the average time spent using smartphones in the country jumped significantly from 3.51 hours (3 hours 31 minutes) to 6.8 hours (6 hours 48 minutes) - an increase of 93.7%.

The notable rise was perhaps boosted by the pandemic as desktop & laptop use rose 48.9% and tablet use skyrocketed by 1,468.8%.

UK

Similarly, phone usage in the UK has experienced a notable surge.

In 2019, the reported daily average hours spent on cell phones was 3 hours. This increased to 3.7 hours (3 hours 42 minutes) in 2020. And grew further to 4 hours in 2021.

China

eMarketer data spanning almost a decade shows the consistent increase in smartphone daily usage year-over-year in China.

Back in 2011, the average person in China used their smartphones just 22 minutes per day.

By 2020, this figure had increased around 8x to 3 hours 16 minutes. And in 2022 average daily smartphone use is expected to total 3 hours 34 minutes.

As of 2023, the average daily smartphone screen time in China is set to hit 3 hours 50 minutes.

Source: MarketPlus, Daily Mail, eMarketer

Time Spent Using Smartphones by Demographic

Around 3 in 4 Gen Zers admit to spending more time on their smartphones than they would like each day. By comparison, just over half of the Baby Boomers feel the same way.

In fact, 24% of Gen Z respondents claimed that smartphone overuse had become a problem in their lives. And 41% of Gen Zers claim to be actively taking steps towards reducing their screen time.

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Here is the generational breakdown of smartphone use:

Generation On Phone More Than Preferable Taking Steps to Reduce Screen Time
Baby Boomers 51.6% 31.3%
Gen X 66.7% 40.7%
Millennials 67.3% 30.5%
Gen Z 76.3% 41%

Another research study found that females are more likely to use smartphones for longer durations of time than males. From a sample of over 30,000 people, the daily average smartphone screen time for females was approximately 2 hours 47 minutes, compared to 2 hours 34 minutes for males.

This corroborates findings from a 2022 paper that asked respondents if they spend more time on their smartphones than their partners.

In total, 78% of females claim to spend more time on their smartphones than their partners.

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And although the majority of males asked also believe they spend more time on their smartphones than their partners, a lower proportion claimed to do so (64%).

Source: SimpleTexting, ResearchGate, SellCell

How Time is Spent on Smartphones

Unsurprisingly, using smartphones to access the internet has become increasingly commonplace.

In 2014, just under 1/3rd of time on smartphones was spent using the internet. By 2019, internet usage accounted for more than half of the time spent on smartphones. And this figure continues to grow.

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Here’s a look at internet usage as a share of total time spent on smartphones since 2013:

Quarter Share of Time Spent on Smartphones Percentage Change Over Previous Year
Q3 2013 27.3% -
Q3 2014 33.1% ↑ 5.8%
Q3 2015 37.7% ↑ 4.6%
Q3 2016 39.1% ↑ 1.4%
Q3 2017 45.6% ↑ 6.5%
Q3 2018 49.4% ↑ 3.8%
Q3 2019 50.8% ↑ 1.4%
Q3 2020 52.8% ↑ 2%
Q3 2021 53.5% ↑ 0.7%

The raw minutes spent accessing the internet via smartphones have also risen year-over-year during the last decade.

In 2011, this figure accounted for just over half an hour (32 minutes). By 2014, this had almost doubled, reaching 1 hour 3 minutes. And as of 2021, the average daily time spent using the internet on a smartphone was approximately 2 hours 35 minutes.

This rise coincides with the steady decline of internet usage via desktop.

Here’s a closer look at internet usage by the device since 2011:

Year Desktop Internet Use Mobile Internet Use Mobile Internet Use Change Over Previous Year Difference Between Desktop and Mobile Internet Use
2011 43 mins 32 mins - Desktop +11 mins
2012 47 mins 36 mins ↑ 4 mins Desktop +11 mins
2013 49 mins 45 mins ↑ 9 mins Desktop +4 mins
2014 47 mins 1 hour 3 mins ↑ 18 mins Mobile +16 mins
2015 42 mins 1 hour 21 mins ↑ 18 mins Mobile +39 mins
2016 40 mins 1 hour 34 mins ↑ 13 mins Mobile +54 mins
2017 42 mins 1 hour 49 mins ↑ 15 mins Mobile +1 hour 7 mins
2018 39 mins 2 hours 2 mins ↑ 13 mins Mobile +1 hour 23 mins
2019* 39 mins 2 hours 12 mins ↑ 11 mins Mobile +1 hour 33 mins
2020* 38 mins 2 hours 23 mins ↑ 11 mins Mobile +1 hour 45 mins
2021* 37 mins 2 hours 35 mins ↑ 12 mins Mobile +1 hour 58 mins

*Projected figures

Social media is a huge part of both smartphone and internet use.

According to research, the main reason people use social media apps is boredom (51.8%).

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Other reasons for using smartphones to access social media include:

  • Curiosity - 18.6%
  • Information - 16%
  • Loneliness - 9.4%
  • Necessity/Work - 3.8%
  • Health purposes - 0.4%

Source: DataReportal, Zenith, SimpleTexting

Smartphone Use Perceived Effects

Despite increasing daily smartphone use, only around 1 in 10 people (10.3%) believe screen time has a positive effect on mental health.

By contrast, 68.6% of those surveyed believe that screen time affects mental health negatively.

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The same study asked respondents what things they associate with screen time. The response with the highest proportion of agreement (54.7%) was that screen time is associated with eye strain.

Results show a mixed bag of both positive and negative associations:

Screen Time Effect Positive/Negative Respondents Who Accept an Association
Eye strain Negative 54.7%
Being more informed Positive 54.1%
Not getting work done Negative 50.3%
Feeling more connected Positive 48.1%
Trouble paying attention Negative 42.8%
Wider worldview Positive 36.6%
Anxiety Negative 29.5%
Back issues Negative 25.9%
Feeling less connected Negative 22.6%
Depression Negative 21.0%
Being more productive Positive 18.4%
Narrower worldview Negative 6.1%
None of the above Neutral 4.8%

Source: SimpleTexting

Smartphone Use Projections

The $1 trillion+ global mobile industry continues to grow each year.

Smartphone users have risen year over year since 2016 and are projected to continue on that upwards trajectory for at least another half-decade.

There were approximately 3.67 billion smartphone subscriptions worldwide as of 2016.

This number has increased by between 300 million and 800 million each year. And is predicted to hit 6.57 billion in 2022.

By 2027, there are expected to be 7.69 billion smartphone subscriptions - just 200 million shy of the current global population.

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Given these projections and the above data, increased smartphone screen time for the foreseeable future appears almost inevitable.

Source: GSMA, Ericsson

Conclusion

Screen time is evidently on the rise.

Whether that’s positive or negative is debatable, but globally it is an undeniable fact.

Naturally, we will reach a plateau, but there is little to indicate that this will arrive in the coming years.

For more related content check out 14 Mobile App Development Trends and 30 In-Demand Mobile App Startups.