Not without my smartphone

 

The nation’s fixation with logging on has people glancing at their devices more than 440 million times a day.

Digital devices in Australia have not only changed the way we communicate, but how we socialise, plan, work, transact, access information and entertain ourselves—not to mention, multi-task!

The advancement of digital technology has also given rise to improvements in education, personal development and, in some ways, reduced our impact on the environment, such as reducing our reliance on printed material.

The rapid evolution of the mobile phone is a prime example, with the ‘brick’ phones of the late ‘80s, which cost over $4,000 a pop(i), now replaced by affordable, pocket-sized mini computers offering 24/7 connectivity.

With around 80% of Australians in possession of a smartphone today(ii) and the marketplace of digital devices continuing to grow, we look at what impact digitisation is having on our daily routines.

 

Digital activity in Australia

Figures from a 2015 report published by The Australian Communications and Media Authority show:

• 92% of people are internet users,
• 54% of internet users engage in blogs and online communities,
• 68% use three or more devices to go online and 23% use five or more devices,
• 70% connect via mobile, 68% via laptop, 62% via desktop computer and 50% via tablet.
• 49% of employed people work in some form of digital capacity
• 10.85 million people made an e-commerce transaction within a four-week period.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the most popular use for the internet is educational activities, particularly among older children. A recent study by Deloitte also highlighted that 340,000 terabytes of data is being downloaded every month in Australia and that figure is increasing.

 

Obsessive behaviour

The fascination with smartphones reflects a craving to connect—particularly with one third of the population checking their device within five minutes of waking up in the morning(ii).

The fixation with logging on, coupled with the growing fear of missing out, has Australians looking at their smartphone more than 30 times a day on average—56 times a day for younger adults and more than 440 million times a day collectively(ii).

Devices and apps are simplifying, yet encroaching on everyday life, with 88% saying they use a device on public transport, 92% at work, 88% when talking with friends, and alarmingly 42% while driving(ii).

 

Online transactions

While people may be looking at their phones more than what’s going on around them, digital devices in many respects are saving us time and making things easier.

For instance, more people are banking, conducting financial activities and purchasing goods and services(iii) online, and this is also driving new mobile, online and smart-pay systems(ii).

However, cyber security is still a perceived concern for some people, despite 40% of smartphone users making an online payment in the past year(ii).

 

On the bandwagon

While older generations have been slower to adopt online devices in comparison to younger age groups, that’s quickly changing.

More than 25% of people over age 55 are now using smartphones to connect via social media—a 45% increase on 2014. And 95% of all users, including grandma and grandpa, are using smartphones to take photos, including selfies(ii).

The speed at which technology is changing is undeniably exciting—and at times— overwhelming. The evolution of smart game consoles, TVs, watches, digitised cars and fitness bands are proof that the expansion of the digital marketplace is not slowing down.

And, if you look at Australia’s take up rates, it doesn’t appear that our appetite for new technology is waning either.

 

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I The Australian Mobile, Telecommunications Association
ii  Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2015
iii The Australian Communications and Media Authority

Source: Futuro 

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