We need help.
Flurry, a mobile analytics company, has a new study out today about mobile device addiction. The results are grim. We simply can’t stop checking our phones and tablets. So much so, in fact, that we’re essentially “wearing” them.
Flurry defines a “mobile addict” as “a consumer that launches apps more than 60 times per day,” or six times as much as Flurry’s average consumer. The company analyzed data from 500,000 apps across 1.3 billion devices as of March 2014 and found there were 176 million consumers checking their phones more than 60 times per day, up 123% from just last March.
App opens went up across the board, with “super users,” or those who open apps between 16 and 60 times per day up 55%, but no segment grew faster than the obsessive “addict” group. Flurry isn’t the first to suggest that our phone and tablet checking behavior is out of control; last June the Android lock screen app, Locket, had data to suggest users were unlocking their phones an average of 110 times each day. Flurry’s data is lower, but is centered around app opens, which suggests opening with (at least some) intent to engage.
The number of obsessives will undoubtedly continue to grow. Flurry’s “mobile addicts” class is comprised mostly of teens, college students (a slight majority of whom are female) and middle-aged parents, who are likely opening apps to stay in touch with the first two groups.
Perhaps most interesting is what this data says about the much-hyped rise of wearable electronics. As Flurry sees it, users who check their devices more than 60 times daily “are already essentially wearing their devices 24/7/365.” For all the concern about the negative effect smart watches, Google Glass, and wearable gadgets will have on our ability to interact with each other, it appears that, by at least some definitions, that troublesome future is already here.