16 Smartphone Statistics Australia Should Take Note of (2021)

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Smartphones have become a must-have accessory for most Australians and it’s no surprise why; they’re convenient, helpful, and do a great job busting your boredom! In today’s climate, you’ll find it quite difficult to pinpoint someone who doesn’t own a smartphone.

As per 2020 data, about eight in ten Australians (79.60%) own a smartphone and Aussies typically spend on  average two and a half hours every day on their phone. It looks like Aussies are spending more time locking eyes with their phone screens than anything else! 

But, with this rising obsession for mobile phones can come some unknown side effects. A high level of smartphone usage has been linked to mental and physical health problems many Australians have been suffering from.

Do you really know the effects your mobile phone has on you? With facts like the ones mentioned below, you can get some clear insights into what exactly happens when you spend a little too long on your smartphone!

Key Smartphone Statistics Australia in 2021

  • There are about 20.30 million smartphone users in Australia – this means 79.60% of the Australian population owns a smartphone.
  • Australia has the second-highest smartphone penetration rate (79.60%) in the world, falling just behind the US (81.90%).
  • 33% of Australian children aged between 6 to 13 own a mobile phone – this equates to 1 in 3 children.
  • 64% of Aussies who use smartphones before bedtime report poor sleep quality.
  • Apple iPhones are the best-selling smartphone in Australia, accounting for 52.40% of the smartphone market share (highest among all the markers where Apple phones are sold). 
  • There were 10.53 million Apple iPhone users in Australia in 2020.
  • On average, Aussies spend two and a half hours on their smartphone.
  • On average, mobile phone users touch their phones 2,617 times every day.
  • 8% of Australian motorists use a mobile phone while actually driving, while a quarter uses their device when stopped in traffic.
  • 22% of car accidents in Australia are caused by mobile phone use while driving.
  • Teens who spend five or more hours per day on their devices have a 71% higher risk factor for suicide.
  • 1 in 7 Australians has some form of arthritis that could be worsened by smartphone usage.

Australia’s Mobile Phone Addiction

1. 79.80% of the Australian population owns a smartphone, while 10.45% still own cell phones.

  • Combined 90.25% or nine-in-ten Australians own a mobile phone.
  • In 2017-18, combined Australians spent 8.2 billion dollars buying smartphones.
  • Smartphone sales have slowed down over the years with 2017 being the highest with recorded sales of 9.20 million mobile phones.

Sources: Statista, Telsyte, Delloite

2. Over 2 million previously mobile-free Aussies have bought a smartphone in the last 5 years.

  • Since 2017, the number of smartphone users has gone up by two million and is set to increase again by 0.9 million in the next 5 years.
  • By 2025, it is expected that there will be 23.40 million Australians that own and use a smartphone – this is 86% of the country’s population.
Source: Statista

3. Australia has the second-highest penetration usage for smartphones.

  • As of 2020, Australia has a mobile phone penetration rate of 79.8% – this means that there are approximately 20 million active Australian SIM cards and phone numbers.
  • This penetration rate is the second-highest-ranking, falling behind the US by only 2.1%.
Source: Statista

4. The average Australian adult spends 2.5 hours a day on their smartphone.

  • Australian smartphone users on average spend up to 2.5 hours a day on their phones, which totals 7.2 years of their life.
  • In terms of generations, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z consume most of their time on mobile phones. Generation X spend on average 6 hours a day on their phones, Millenials spend an average of 6.7 hours a day on their phones, and Generation Z top the chart with 7.3 hours of smartphone usage a day!
Source: Reviews.org

5. 94% of Australian teenagers aged 14-17 own a smartphone

  • This figure is slightly better for younger children, as 33% of Australians aged between 6 and 13 years old own a smartphone.
  • On average, Aussies get their first phone at the ripe and impressionable age of 10, so it’s no wonder there are so many mobile phone addiction sufferers.
Source: SMH

6. About 54% of Australians use their mobile while in bed before going to sleep

  • One in three Aussies have admitted to sleeping with their phone, and one in four checked their phone screens within 10 minutes of waking up in the morning.
  • 70% of Australians keep their phone by their bedside at night.

Source: Think With Google

7. Approximately 94% of Australians take their phone with them when they leave their house

  • The need to be near your phone at all times has become alarmingly normal, with almost all Aussies stating that they always take their mobiles with them when they leave their homes.
  • 40% of Australians are that attached to their smartphones, they take them to the toilet!

Sources: Deloitte, New Idea

8. Nearly a quarter of Australians admitted to picking up the phone while in the car

  • A Queensland University study indicated that smartphone usage while driving increases reaction time to hazards that originate in the distracted driver’s peripheral vision by 50%, compared to the drunk driving reaction time of 15% – 25%.
  • Speaking on a mobile phone has been said to quadruple your risk of crashing, and texting increases it by 20%!
  • Texting while driving is considered more likely to cause a fatality than drink driving, as even a 2-second distraction can double your chances of crashing.

Sources: Budget Direct, Which Car

Smartphone Usage and its Physical Effects on Australians

9. We’re more tired and less productive because of our mobile phones

  • A 2019 survey showed that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 8 men are losing sleep due to their smartphones – this issue was named technoference.
  • 64% of Aussies believe the overuse of their phones negatively affects their sleep.

Sources: Science Daily, SMH

10. Blue light from your smartphone can cause eye problems

  • Blue light has been linked to an increased risk of macular degeneration or AMD, which is currently the leading cause of vision loss in Australia.
  • Eye strain, blurry vision, and headaches are also side effects of too much blue light exposure.

Source: My Health 1st

11. Smartphone slouching has caused back and neck pains

  • Findings from a University of South Australia study show a direct correlation between neck and back pain, and the use of mobile phones.
  • The constant hunched over downward-looking position we take while on mobile phones puts excessive strain on the neck which can cause neck pain referred to as ‘Text Neck’.

Source: 9 News

12. Arthritis and musculoskeletal disorders are on the rise

  • 1 in 7 Australians have some form of arthritis that could be worsened by smartphone usage.
  • Repetitive motions over time such as texting, can put stress on joints, tendons, and muscles.
  • Finger, hand, and elbow pain as a result of using a mobile phone has risen – these are known as ‘text claw’ and ‘cell phone elbow’.

Sources: AIHW, Toi Health

Smartphone Usage and its Mental Effects on Australians

13. Aussies are becoming nomophobic

  • The average Australian will check their phone every 30 minutes while awake or approximately 85 times a day, which is an alarming rate.
  • A recent study showed that 99.2% of users have some fear of being without their phone (nomophobia), while 13.2% said they class their level of nomophobia as severe, which can lead to an increased risk of dependence and dangerous use.

Sources: The Age, It Brief

14. The rise of smartphone usage is linked to increased cyberbullying and trolling

  • Research by Opennect found that teenagers who spend a lot of time using cell phones are more likely to become a cyberbully or fall victim to cyberbullying.
  • 1 in 5 Australian children are cyberbullied.
  • To combat the high levels of cyberbullying, the Australian Federal Government’s new proposed online safety legislation requires internet service providers, social media companies and other online platforms to remove bullying content within 24 hours or risk being blocked and fined $555,000.

Sources: ZD Net, The Guardian

15. Smartphones can cause FOMO and increase mental issues

  • 1 in 2 Aussie teenagers and 1 in 4 Aussie adults experience FOMO (fear of missing out).
  • Research found that 71% of teens who spend five or more hours per day on their devices have a higher risk factor for suicide.

Sources: NPR, Heads Up

16. Phones are decreasing face-to-face connection and increasing anxiety

  • Users who spend more time on their phone acquire a higher dependency on their phones for a sense of connectedness and social identity, which can reduce their capacity to navigate social bonds in person.
  • Over-reliance on phones can be seen as a safety-seeking behaviour that temporarily reduces anxiety, however, over time this can feed anxiety and make it worse.

Sources: Technology Decisions, ABC

Conclusion

It’s obvious from the statistics mentioned above that smartphones aren’t as good as we once thought they were and could be negatively impacting Australian users. Now that you know everything that comes with the responsibility of using your smartphone, you may think twice before reaching for it!

Sources and References:

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