Survey Shows Americans Treat Mobile Devices as Best Friends
Most of us bring our smartphones to the dinner table, turn to them when we are
bored, and trust advice from the mobile Web more than our parents
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- February 13, 2013
In this post-modern world where personal technology reigns supreme
(particularly mobile devices), it is not outlandish to think that a smartphone
or tablet can become your best friend. Just how intimately connected are we
with our mobile devices? A new survey commissioned by Citrix found that
Americans admitted to spending almost every waking minute with their devices,
whether checking news and social media feeds first thing each morning, eating
every meal with device in hand, or watching reality TV shows in secret.
The survey of more than 1,000 American smartphone and tablet owners ages 18
and older was conducted in January 2013 by Wakefield Research. It reveals just
how deep the relationship between man and machine can run, even trumping the
relationships people have with their families.
Like most close relationships, it’s not all fun and games. The survey also
highlights where the relationship between user and device can go south. Among
Guess who’s coming to dinner
Any lunch date or dinner party can be ruined by an unwanted guest, but what
happens when that guest is a smartphone or tablet? This problem appears to be
on the rise, as a whopping 69 percent of mobile device owners said it has been
one day or less since they last ate a meal without checking their device. And
don’t blame the kids for ignoring you at the dinner table. Only 66 percent of
Millennials checked their devices while sitting down for a meal in the past
day compared to 68 percent of Gen Xers and 71 percent of Boomers.
A problem with over-sharing
While new technologies have made it easy to share videos with friends and
family across the globe, a majority of mobile device users (52 percent)
expressed their desire for fewer shared videos. When asked which of the
following video types they wished people would stop sharing, 45 percent ranked
videos of kids as their number one choice. “Holiday greetings” and pet videos
ranked second and third with 42 and 41 percent, respectively. On the flip
side, the survey found that we have no qualms about sharing our own video
content, even at the expense of others. Among mobile device owners who
recorded an embarrassing video of someone in 2012, a majority (52 percent) are
saving it to share with others in 2013.
Idle time, alone time
When asked the primary reason for using their mobile devices, 64 percent of
survey respondents said “to keep myself from being bored.” The next most
popular reason, “to bring friends or family together,” was cited by just 32
percent of respondents, which indicates that Americans may prefer quality time
with a mobile device to hanging out with a “real” friend. Additionally, 46
percent copped to watching a television show they would never watch with their
friends, only in private. Among those who confessed to secret TV behavior, the
top show watched behind closed doors was “Pawn Stars” (36 percent), followed
by the “Storage Wars” series (32 percent), and “The Real Housewives” (28
Our most trusted confidante
Mobile users trust the information they find on the Internet by a wide margin
– especially compared to information provided by their parents. In fact, 55
percent said they trust “how-to” advice taken from the Internet over advice
from their parents. Though Millennials are the first generation to grow up
immersed in digital technology, they don’t necessarily trust the Internet more
than older Americans do: 62 percent of Gen Xers compared to 54 percent of
Millennials trust advice from the mobile Web more than their parents.
A good friend is hard to find
Just as we get impatient with a friend who shows up late or takes too long to
text us back, nearly a third (30 percent) of the survey respondents said that
they will wait only eight seconds for a mobile Web page to load before giving
up. Along the same lines, 72 percent said they are likely to abandon
downloading a large file because of slow download speeds. Mobile device users
will not hesitate to throw in the towel when response times are inadequate.
“These survey findings confirm suspicions that most of us are rendered
completely helpless when separated from our mobile devices, perhaps even more
than when we are pulled apart from our best friends,” said Mick Hollison, vice
president of Integrated Marketing and Strategy, Citrix. “As our attachments to
smartphones and tablets continue to grow deeper and more intimate, companies
must respond with new ways to empower people to use their favorite devices
across their personal and professional lives. This will enable all of us to
reach new levels of productivity and prosperity.”
Additional survey highlights
The Wakefield survey also uncovered data that contrasts what mobile device
owners think they know about their devices and data plans with the reality of
their mobile Web behaviors. For more details, visit the Citrix ByteMobile Q1
2013 Mobile Analytics Report at
*Despite the fact that mobile ads consume one percent of a smartphone
subscriber’s monthly data volume, a majority (61 percent) of smartphone or
tablet owners incorrectly believe that mobile ads don’t count against
their monthly data limit.
*Seventy percent of smartphone and tablet owners actively choose to stream
content on a mobile device rather than a computer.
*More than half (51 percent) of mobile device owners blame their provider
for slow-loading Web pages, while 49 percent blame the website.
*While a majority of mobile video is low-resolution (92 percent is less
than 360p), 64 percent of survey respondents think most of the mobile
videos they watch are primarily high-resolution.
*Seventy-four percent of mobile video viewers seek out most of the video
they watch, rather than wait for it to come to them via friends or
The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) on
behalf of Citrix. It was distributed among 1,000 U.S. adult smartphone or
tablet owners ages 18 and older, between January 8 and January 15, 2013, using
an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure
reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult smartphone or tablet
owner population 18 and older.
Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the
variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the
level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted
in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does
not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result
that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in
the universe represented by the sample.
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