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UScellular Shares Latest Data about Consumers' Phone Habits

CHICAGO (April 12, 2023) It’s well-known Americans are growing increasingly dependent on their smartphones for essential daily functions, entertainment, and connection, but according to UScellular's 2022 consumer survey* consumers have growing concerns about smartphone usage and over-dependence. Survey findings reveal:

We would rather inflict emotional pain, embarrassment, and discomfort on ourselves than be without our smartphones.

  • 65% of smartphone users would rather go on a terrible date or sit next to a crying baby on a plane than lose their phone.
  • 62% of consumers would rather get stuck in traffic every day of the week than lose a phone.
  • 53% would rather someone they love forget their birthday or anniversary than lose their phone.
  • 76% of consumers would rather show coworkers an embarrassing childhood photo than lose their phone.
  •  76% of consumers would rather go to the dentist than lose their phone.

We have lost all sense of boundaries in where it is appropriate to use our phones.

  • Only 23% of smartphone owners think it’s inappropriate to use their phone while in the bathroom.
  • More than one third of consumers have walked into someone/something while on their phones.

We are allowing children access to smartphones at progressively younger ages, generation to generation.

  • The survey uncovered, on average, that Gen Z received their first cellphone at 13.7 years, younger millennials at 14.5 years old, and older millennials at 17.4 years old. 
  • Sixty percent of Gen Z say their first cellphone was a smartphone. Much higher than younger millennials (27%) and older millennials (26%).
  • Parents and non-parents alike deem the age of 13 to be an appropriate age for that milestone. 
  • Only 58% of parents talk to their children about setting time limits on their devices.

We understand the toll smartphone usage takes on us but need a bit of motivation to break the habit.

  • Across generations, anxiety is the most common feeling when consumers don’t have their phone on them - 29% of consumers feel anxious without their phones.
  • Just under half of consumers say that their phone enhances their life and nearly one third of smartphone owners agree they could use less time with their phones.

*Methodology Disclaimer: Between October 31 and November 7, 2022, a total of 1,000 online interviews were conducted among a nationally representative sample of U.S. consumers between 18-41 years old by Consumer Insights, in partnership with PureSpectrum.

About UScellular
UScellular is the fourth-largest full-service wireless carrier in the United States, providing national network coverage and industry-leading innovations designed to help customers stay connected to the things that matter most. The Chicago-based carrier provides a strong, reliable network supported by the latest technology and offers a wide range of communication services that enhance consumers’ lives, increase the competitiveness of local businesses and improve the efficiency of government operations. Through its After School Access Project, the company has pledged to provide hotspots and service to help up to 50,000 youth connect to reliable internet. Additionally, UScellular has price protected all of its plans, promising not to increase prices through at least the end of 2024. To learn more about UScellular, visit one of its retail stores or www.uscellular.com. To get the latest news, visit newsroom.uscellular.com.