It's 2015, what do Australian's use their smartphones for?

It's 2015, what do Australian's use their smartphones for?

Australia has a smartphone penetration of 81%; we sit in fourth place globally. There are roughly 15 million smartphones in use in Australia (Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey, 2015). The AIMIA 2014 Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index (AMPLI) found 53% of respondents owned a smartphone, computer and tablet.


When do we use our smartphones?

In the AMPLI research, 39% of respondents answered ‘Yes, all the time’ when asked whether they use their smart phone on public transport. This trumped watching TV (31%), while in bed (29%), eating a meal alone (27%) and using your tablet or PC (19%). The Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2015 found 12% of respondents check their phone immediately after waking and 81% of respondents checked it within an hour. So when we are using them, what do we do?


Multi-tasking on mobile

The Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2015 found more than 88% of respondents used their smartphone on public transport, 42% of which replied always or very often do so. At work, 92% respondents use their smartphone compared to, watching TV (83%) and talking to friends (88%).

The Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2014 found that we most commonly dual-screen with our smartphone while watching TV, this falls into two categories: tasks related and not related to the program. Popular tasks not related to the program include checking social networks (34%), email (33%), playing games (21%) and texting friends (20%). Tasks related to the program include searching for information related to what is being watched (11%); discuss the program via text or social media (8%) and searching for information about an ad seen on TV (7%).


Australian’s check their smartphones 440 million times a day. So what are we doing when we check them?


What do we use our smartphones for?


The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) report, a snapshot of digital life in Australia, 2014, found 92% of Australians use the internet with 10.7 million of us going online more than once a day. The average daily use of the internet by a mobile phone is 1hr and 32 minutes (We Are Social, 2015). Sixty-eight percent of Australians use three or more devices to access the internet. Seventy percent of Australian’s go online with a mobile phone compared to 50% who go online with a tablet. Over June ’13 to June ’14, there was a 97% increase in the volume of mobile data downloaded in Australia (ACMA).

ACMA’s research, Australians get mobile, found 21% of adult Australians did not have a fixed internet connection at December 2014. These adults solely rely on a mobile broadband connection.


The Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2015 found two thirds of respondents under 35 have made a purchase through their smartphones, in the 18 – 24 year old group, 61% had made an online purchase out of the 81% who had browsed shopping websites.

Deloitte’s 2014 report found common purchase categories include tickets (60% – movie & transport etc.), digital content for a mobile phone (54%), clothes, shoes & jewellery (41%) and books (25%).  Of those who had recently made an online purchase on a PC, 91% reported they were very or somewhat satisfied. Only 67% of those purchasing on a smartphone were very or somewhat satisfied.


The Deloitte 2015 survey found watching short videos on a smartphone is the most commonly cited entertainment use and has seen a 260% year on year increase.

IAB’s Mobile Video 2015: A global perspective research found 33% of Australian respondents claim they watch more video on their smartphones than last year. We primarily access videos on our smartphones via applications with 48% of respondents stating they ‘only/mostly use mobile apps’ and 20% of respondent’s accessed video equally via apps and mobile websites.

The primary restraint on viewing video on our smartphones resolves around data usage concerns (28% of respondents). Thirty-five percent of respondents reported they only watch videos when connected to Wi-Fi. The NPD Group that found that Wi-Fi and data consumptions on smartphones with screen sizes larger than 4.5 inches was 44% greater than on smaller phones, whose screens are not as conducive to watching video.


The Deloitte 2015 survey found watching short videos on a smartphone is the most commonly cited entertainment use and has seen a 260% year on year increase.



Recent data from Google’s Our Mobile Planet research revealed the average number of applications on our smartphones is 33, 12 have been actively used within the last 30 days and 11 of the 33 are paid apps. The AMPLI study revealed the top 5 popular types of applications included maps & navigation, news & weather, games, photos/videos & movies and instant messaging & social apps. In 2014, only 45% of respondents paid for an application, down 17% from 2013, one third of these paid applications downloaded cost $2.


The Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2015 found 24% of respondents indicated they would use their smartphone like a credit/debit card in a retail store; this is a 16% decrease from 2014. The key driver in this decline relates to a perceived lack of security (43% of respondents).

The 2014 survey found 55% of Australian’s have performed a banking task on a mobile, ahead of the USA at 48%. Common mobile banking tasks for Australian’s include checking bank balance (46%), transferring money to an individual (29%), making an online purchase (20%) and paying a bill (23%). In the survey, 35% of respondents would use their mobile phone to pay for a purchase within store – 61% of which were 18-24 years old.

Social Media

We Are Social’s – Digital, Social and Mobile Worldwide 2015 report found Australia has 13.6 million active social media accounts (57% penetration). Twelve million of these accounts are active on mobile. Since January 2015, the growth in number of active social media accounts and number of active mobile social accounts has grown by 6% and 11% respectively.

Fifty-four percent of Australians update or check their social networks daily with 44% of us doing so on our smartphone (Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey, 2014). The AMPLI research found 36% of respondents prefer to use their smartphone to access social media than any other device.


Within the last year, there has been a 51% year-on-year increase in the number of total web pages served to mobile, at 26% of web pages served to a mobile; we are behind the global average of 33% (We Are Social, 2015). Our Mobile Planet’s research found 58% of respondents used search engines on a smartphone while 52% who searched for a local business or service then visited the website on a mobile device.  Google’s, Our Mobile Planet research revealed 58% of Australian’s search on our smartphones daily while 28% search weekly.

Mobile Instant Messaging

Australia is behind the world in the adoption of Mobile Instant Messaging (MIM) using apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage, WeChat and Snapchat. The Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2014 found 84% of Spanish respondents had used an MIM service within the last seven days, compared to 25% for Australia.

However, the swell is building in the younger demographics, the 2015 survey found 64% (45% in 2014) and 55% (41% in 2014) of the 18 – 24 and 25 – 34 year old categories respectively had used an MIM service within the last seven days before of the survey.  For consideration, in 2014, SMS stood at 83% for both these age categories.

There’s room to grow

While our smartphone penetration lies within the top five worldwide, aspects of our mobile market, primarily, adoption of m-commerce, m-payments and m-banking have room for growth. The challenge with driving adoption lies within combining a clear mobile strategy (aligned at a business level) with great UX/UI design. While consumers have adopted Omni-channel for a range of tasks they perform online, businesses are yet to catch up and provide the continuation of a smooth, easy and reliable customer journey experience.