Do you feel anxious if you are separated from your cell phone? Chances are you have heard people joke about feeling like an arm is missing under such circumstances, but we all know what they mean. However, our attachment to our phones might only be beginning if the situation in Australia is anything to go by.
Here’s the thing about Australia. As nation, tech adoption is traditionally faster there than in the rest of the world. We saw it with internet use, and we are seeing it with smartphone adoption, which is about a year or two ahead of the US and western Europe. A recent market research project by reviews.org provides some interesting insights into how Australians interact with their phones – and perhaps, an intriguing glimpse into the future for Californians.
Australians and Cell Phones are Strange Bedfellows
Before we get into the way Australians actually use their smartphones, here are some intriguing facts about the way Australians interact with their phones:
- Three out of four Australians sleep with their phones beside them like a teddy bear.
- Two out of three will check their phone while watching a movie.
- More than half have sent a text message to someone in the same room.
- Almost half experience anxiety if their phone battery drops below 20 percent.
- One in four check their phone while on a date.
- One in five check their phone while driving.
Given Australia’s strict laws prohibiting mobile phone use and driving, that final statistic is particularly shocking. It’s not something everyone would admit to, so if one in five admit the activity, the true proportion is almost certainly higher.
Social media apps get the most use
The app that gets the most use in Australia is Facebook. 28 percent of Australians said they use this app more than any other. Interestingly, TikTok and Instagram were second and third in terms of the apps used more than any other.
In many ways, that’s a comforting thought. Phones are, first and foremost, a means of communication. Clearly, Australians are not losing sight of that in the way they use their cell phones.
Mobile casino has surged in popularity
Australians have had a passion for pokies, or slot games as they are otherwise known, since long before mobile phones came along. 20 percent of the world’s slot machines are in Australia, despite it being home to just 0.3 percent of the world’s population.
Online pokies have been around for the past decade, but their popularity surged in 2021, when the number of online casino gamblers increased by 50 percent year on year. That’s understandable, we all know what was happening at the time and the bars, truck shops and casinos were all closed. The interesting thing is that after everything returned to normal, mobile casinos in Australia continued to see a steady increase in visitors.
TV is rapidly going mobile in Australia
Since the 1950s, the TV has served as the focal point that brings families together at the end of the day. That is still the case to a large extent, but if the Australian polls are anything to go by, change is coming.
Almost half the respondents said they watch TV on their phones instead of a TV – clearly not a very social activity. Interestingly, only 28 percent use their phones for streaming movies. An indication, perhaps, that even smart phones have their limitations.
Fitness and health monitoring goes digital
Aussies are famed for their healthy lifestyle and svelte physiques. That is, at least, how the story goes. The truth is, Australia has an obesity crisis that is not far behind that of the USA. Two in three Australian adults are overweight or obese and they turned to fitness apps in their droves during those strange times in 2020/21. Their use has continued to a lesser extent ever since.
MyFitnessPal, Fitbit and Strava are the top trending fitness apps in Australia this year. Tess Alexander is a fitness expert and was Miss World Australia in 2015. She has some thought-provoking views on Australia’s obsession with fitness apps.
In short, she warned that in inexperienced hands, they can do more harm than good, as those starting out on a fitness program need to make sure they are focusing on the right muscle groups. That can’t necessarily be achieved with an app. She said: “I think that having a fitness app can be great once you’ve got a level of fitness and the right understanding when it comes to activating the right muscles.”