Over half of Irish adults wish they spent less time on their devices a new Deloitte digital trends study shows

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Over half of Irish adults wish they spent less time on their devices a new Deloitte digital trends study showsThe activities most performed daily on a device are use of social networks and instant messaging apps (75%), reading the news (48%) and streaming/playing music (36%)

The smartphone is well and truly ingrained in our daily lives but potentially impacts our social interactions and sleep, a new Deloitte digital trends study has found. Access to smartphones in Ireland remains consistent year on year with 94% of 18–75-year-olds having access to one.

The majority of adults (51%) wish they spent less time on devices, with the 18–34-year-olds being more likely than other age groups to say so (63%). Six in 10 (59%) of us use a smartphone as soon as we wake up, according to the survey. This is highest among 18–34-year-olds (71%) and among women (66% say so compared to 52% of men).

Similarly, half of respondents tend to stay awake later than planned because they are using devices into the night, rising to 62% and 64% of those between 18-24 years old and 25-34 years olds, respectively.  Accessing social media platforms (64%) and instant messaging
(62%) apps remains the top activity for smartphone users - both increasing on 2021 (58% and 61% respectively).

John Kehoe, Audit Partner from Deloitte said: “Over the last two years through the COVID-19 pandemic, technology connected us while we had to stay apart. Technology continues to keep us connected, with smartphone access remaining at 94%, with access to the old reliables such as tablets and laptops, continuing their downward trend - having peaked in 2017.

“36% of respondents check their phone at least 50 times a day, with 16% checking it at least 100 times a day. We can see that the percentage of respondents across all age categories checking their phone at least 50 times a day, increasing since 2021. While, these are great and useful devices, we need to be aware they can have a negative impact on our social interactions and sleep patterns.”

The smart home
The smart home continues to take hold with smart TVs growing to 66%, up from 44% five years ago. Voice assisted speakers have been the largest increase over the same period, up from 3% in 2017 to 32% this year - and 58% of us use them daily. Overall, 88% of respondents now own at least one connected device. Gaming consoles use also continues to grow, up 3% to 41%.

Access to video streaming services subscription is stable at 75%. Netflix is the overwhelming leader in streaming services, used by two in three respondents, followed by Disney+ at 33% and Amazon Prime at 29%. We don’t just use one provider either; in 2019 on average each subscriber had 1.2 subscriptions, this has risen to 2.2 in 2022.

  • The rate at which new subscribers are signing up appears to be falling with only 20% of respondents adding a new subscription in the previous 12 months, down from 25% in 2021.
  • Cancellation rates in the previous 12 months have also increased from 15% to 20%.

“The key driver for cancellation remains the lack of usage, however, as consumers face increasing pressure with the rising cost of living, 2022 seems to indicate a more cost-centric subscriber with cancellation because of the cost of the service, rising from 12% in 2021 to 22% in 2022. Despite the fact cancellation rates are rising, 12% are also resubscribing. This is primarily driven by content with 32% signing up for a new season of their favourite show,”  Kehoe said.  

“There has been much coverage around Netflix’s plans to restrict account sharing and looking at their subscription model by introducing ads to lower the monthly fee. Interestingly, 42% of respondents would be interested in ad-based subscriptions, either with advertising covering half or all of the subscription costs. Watch this space as it is one that has real potential for growth,” he added.

Smart devices
Wearable devices continue to rise in popularity with 50% of smartphone owners having access to one. Similar to trends observed in other countries, access to a smart watch has increased (8% growth to 32%), however access to fitness bands has dropped (- 5% to 28%) potentially indicating consumer preferences for more multifunctional wrist devices, such as the smart watch.

  • The age demographics highlights a difference, with smart watches being the clear preference for the 18–34-year-olds and fitness bands being preferred by the 55–75 year olds
  • 55% of those who have a wearable or smart watch monitor their steps, 33% monitor heart rate and 29% monitor their sleeping patterns with women more actively monitoring than men (80% women vs 64% men)

“The smartphone is now the preferred device to browse shopping websites (2021: laptop), making online purchases, for online searches, checking bank balances and gaming (2021: consoles),” Daryl Hanberry, Partner and Head of Technology, Media and Telecommunications at Deloitte said. “For those over 55, the laptop remains the preferred device for most of these activities. The TV remains the preferred device for streaming, watching live TV and using catch up services.“

About the Digital Trends Survey 2022

The Deloitte Digital Consumer Trends report – formerly known as the Global Mobile Consumer Survey – is an annual survey of consumers which explores their digital usage and attitudes towards technology. The survey was carried out in August 2022, with 1,000 people between the ages of [18 and 75] in Ireland were surveyed.

About Deloitte
At Deloitte, we make an impact that matters for our clients, our people, our profession, and in the wider society by delivering the solutions and insights they need to address their most complex business challenges.  As the largest global professional services and consulting network, with over 312,000 professionals in more than 150 countries, we bring world-class capabilities and high-quality services to our clients.

In Ireland, Deloitte has approximately 3,000 people providing audit, tax, consulting, and financial advisory services to public and private clients spanning multiple industries. Our people have the leadership capabilities, experience and insight to collaborate with clients so they can move forward with confidence.In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte Ireland LLP. The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press. Deloitte Ireland LLP is the Ireland affiliate of Deloitte NSE LLP, a member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”). DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL and Deloitte NSE LLP do not provide services to clients.