Revealing Mobile Usage Statistics 2023

People are attached to their smartphones like never before, yet we might not always be aware of that fact. And even if we are aware of it, we might not notice our own habits, the habits of those around us, or the specific habits of society at large.

Yet there is importance in understanding these habits whether we want to break out of them or get a better understanding of our world. We spend hours each day on our smartphones, and we may not even realize it. Are we even paying attention to what we are doing on our phones, and are we spending time how we would like to? These are personal questions only you can answer for yourself, but the correct information and statistics should help get you to ask these questions first.

Here are some of the most important mobile usage statistics you should be aware of in 2023:

Availability and Total Smartphone Users

Before looking at habits and what people do on their phones, it’s helpful to know just how widespread smartphones are and how common it is to see one worldwide.

• There are an estimated 6.6 billion people that use smartphones worldwide. The exact number may vary depending on how you look at it, and it is also important to note that many people have more than one smartphone, so the number isn’t as easy to track as one may think. Nonetheless, there are more people using smartphones than not on the planet. This is astonishing given that smartphones were a rare to impossible sight two decades ago (depending on your definition of a smartphone).

• That is more people than were on the planet until a few decades ago. And while the smartphone penetration rate growth is slowing down a bit, it isn’t stopping. As smartphones become cheaper and the infrastructure becomes more widespread, it will be easier for everyone on earth to get a smartphone if they desire it.

• Another way to look at it is by looking at the smartphone penetration rate for the planet. While we are still waiting for information about the topic in 2021 (the pandemic did not help with data collection), in 2020, the penetration rate was 78.05 percent. This is a massive increase over even four years ago (49.35 percent), and in 2022 we can expect the rate to be well over 80 percent. The increase might slow down a bit over time from here on out, but by the end of the decade, we anticipate at least 90-95 percent of the world’s population will have access to smartphones, if not actively using them.

• This is even given that the global population is likely to grow as a whole, even if some countries’ populations may decline due to demographic issues.

• A total of 97 percent of Americans use a mobile phone of some kind, according to a Pew research statistic that came out about 2020. Now in 2022, we can only anticipate that the number has gone up, even by a small amount, since the ceiling is so close. It’s important to note that the number in 2011 was 35 percent. This shows a dramatic shift in the habits of people and how quickly people adopted smartphones into their life.

• If we’re looking at younger generations, about 98 percent of generation Z has a smartphone. It can hardly get higher than this, though it makes absolute sense, given how important a smartphone is to even teenagers in high school. To some people, the connections on the device constitute their entire life, work, and social life included. 

• You can also look at the number of Smartphone users in the United States in the last few years and what is expected for the next few years.

• While this might be less than the total population, remember that not everyone can use a smartphone. We don’t have two-year-olds owning smartphones (yet). And even if the penetration rate keeps constant, the population of the United States is on the rise.

• Smartphones are also doing another significant thing worldwide: they connect people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to the internet. Many people only connect to the internet through a smartphone, and as smartphones improve and apps adapt, this is less of a disadvantage.

• About 99.3 percent of all internet users in China went online using their mobile devices in 2020. That isn’t going to change much by 2022, and while some users might also use desktops or laptops, it cements the smartphone as the primary device people rely on.

• While the personal computer or laptop will never go away, we may see a shift in how people see computers as more of a specialist device used for work or gaming.

• Smartphone sales are thriving and growing. If you look at the number of smartphones sold over the previous decades, you’ll notice two things:

• First, you’ll see massive increases in sales over the years since smartphones first became available. This is due to people getting smartphones for the first time. As people mostly looked for replacements afterward and new markets became less common, sales increased yearly, but not as much.

• You also might notice a relative drop in the last couple of years. This could be partially due to the pandemic (and its toll on production and the economy) and partially due to the general chip shortage affecting all tech sectors.

Usage Habits

So most people in the world have a smartphone, but how often are they used, and how much of an impact do they have? Here are some of the most important stats and trends regarding those questions.

• In 2021, the average person in the United States spent 3 hours and 55 minutes on their smartphone, according to one source. That is more time than we spend eating and more than half the time most people spend sleeping. This is also a major rise from the 2 hours and 55 minutes people spent on their phones each day in 2019.

• Worldwide, another source states that people spend, on average, 3 hours and 43 minutes daily on their smartphones. However, it isn’t universally about this much. The average can vary quite a bit depending on the country.

• From the nations studied, look at the top countries by the amount of time spent on a smartphone.

• People in the Philippines, Thailand, and Brazil all spend more than five hours each day on their smartphones and likely spend even more time looking at screens each day than that. This is a lot of time, and we aren’t entirely sure of its reasons. Nonetheless, we can only assume it is a major social shift from several years ago, and it will take years to learn the full ramifications of it.

• Interestingly, you might be surprised if you look at the countries with the lowest usage. The average person in Japan only spends an hour and 39 minutes on a smartphone daily, which is more than two hours less than the global average. Denmark and Germany are the next closest, with people spending 2 hours and 13 minutes and 2 hours and 14 minutes, respectively, on their smartphones each day on average.

• Using a smartphone is often how we start and end our day. About 87 percent of people will check their phones before going to sleep. About 67 percent of people will check their phones as soon as they wake up. This is even though this is not recommended by many professionals, as the light coming from smartphones can delay or disturb sleep.

• For further evidence that we are dependent on our phones, about 65 percent of people have a fear of losing their phone network. That is a relatively new fear, given how the technology is perhaps two decades old for most people.

• About 12 percent of people even use a smartphone when they shower. We suppose they are making the most of the water resistance built into most models these days.

• The exact number seems to vary depending on the survey or study used, but people often check their smartphones. Americans are reported to check their phones every 10 minutes, or about 96 times a day. And given that’s an average, some people check their phones much more often.

• Most people don’t think all that time is good for their mental health despite their great amount of screen time usage. Only one in ten people believe smartphone usage is good for their mental health.

• Given the vast amount of online content and the many different ways one can use a smartphone, one can argue that results will vary based on how one uses their smartphone and what one engages with. Some sites are more harmful to mental health than others.

• Conversely, 68.6 percent think screen time negatively affects their mental health.


People are made of very diverse groups and might have different habits of smartphone habits all over the world. What are some of those differences, and how pronounced are they?

• Most smartphone users (estimated at 55 percent) are in Asia. This makes sense given the proportion of the world population that lives in Asia, but there is also the matter that many smartphone users in Asia only use their smartphones, and infrastructure for smartphones is generally quite advanced there. 

• One of the reasons you might not notice so many people from Asia is that China is in some ways walled off from the rest of the internet, using its own websites and social media apps as opposed to the ones that gained popularity in the West.

• Breaking it down by generational demographics, you don’t need studies to tell you that younger people use smartphones more, but what is the breakdown there? And how do they feel about it?

• From people’s reporting, about 51.6 percent of Baby Boomers believe they are on their phones more than would be preferable. Compare that to 76.3 percent of Gen Z respondents and 67.3 percent of Millennials. A roughly proportionate number of all groups is taking active steps to reduce screen time. People of all generations know it’s a problem, but many cannot help themselves.

• And what about gender? It turns out that women spend more time overall than men on their smartphones. In one study, the average screen time for females was 2 hours and 47 minutes, and males had an average of 2 hours and 34 minutes. This is overall a bit less than the general idea of how much time people spent on smartphones we got from before, but overall the trend and data check out. 

• Furthermore, 78 percent of females reported spending more time on their smartphones than their partners. Interestingly, 64 percent of males said they use their smartphones more than their partners. This leaves out single people and is self-reported, but the perception says a lot about how we view smartphones.

• Income seems to be a significant factor (at least in the U.S.) in who owns a smartphone. Still, even among people who earn less than $30,000 a year, 97 percent own some form of cell phone, and 76 percent still own a smartphone. As income increases, the percentage of people owning a smartphone increases dramatically.

• According to the Pew Research survey, there is practically no racial difference regarding smartphone ownership, with 85 percent of white respondents owning a smartphone and 83 percent of black respondents owning one. Hispanic respondents also report an ownership rate of 85 percent.

• The urban/rural divide is not as strong as you might think regarding smartphone ownership. According to Pew Research, 89 percent of people living in urban areas own a smartphone, and 80 percent of people in rural areas do. People in suburban areas split the difference at 84 percent.

What Do People Do on Their Smartphones?

After looking at the demographics and the general stats, let’s take a bit of a look at what people do on their smartphones. We cannot comb through every minute of every day for the world’s population, but we found some trends worth mentioning and some enlightening statistics.

• Millions of people in the United States rely on their smartphones as their main form of internet access. According to Pew Research, about 15 percent of U.S. adults report not having broadband internet at home but owning a smartphone. And as a general trend, more younger people use their smartphones as their primary form of internet access in the U.S.

• While smartphones have some productivity features, for the most part, it doesn’t look like people are working on them. Smartphones have been linked to a 46 percent decrease in productivity among employees, leading employers to view them with suspicion.

• People are spending time on social media, naturally. The average person will spend two hours and 29 minutes on social media. And while not all social media time is spent on a smartphone, most of it is.

• Yet why do people spend so much time on social media? The leading cause seems to be boredom (51.8 percent of respondents to a study), with curiosity and looking for information following up (though far behind). And while boredom might be the cause, social media doesn’t seem to fix the problem efficiently, given the amount of time we spend on it.

• Globally, there are 4.7 billion social media users, and they are using social media more than ever. There are more social media users than ever. And a person uses, on average, 7.4 social media platforms each month. Out of all internet users, 93.6 percent use social media in some capacity. Suffice it to say; that social media may currently be the leading and most important use of smartphones.

• We’re also spending a lot of money. While eCommerce has boomed in the past decade, what was uncertain was what the split between mobile and standard eCommerce would be as time passed. It is estimated that $3.56 trillion was spent on mobile commerce in 2021. And as you can see in the chart below, that number is rising.

• Related to spending money, we watch or look at many smartphone ads. And advertisers know it and are willing to spend a lot of money for that attention. Look at the graphic below:

• Billions are already being spent on mobile ads, and we can expect this amount to reach hundreds of billions in the coming couple of years. Part of this is sure to be the increasing price of mobile ads, but in addition, there is the simple fact that there are more opportunities for mobile ad spending and more impressions to be had as people use smartphones more.

• Besides social media, as mentioned above, we also spend a lot of time and money on mobile gaming. People who otherwise wouldn’t touch video games love mobile games for their accessibility and design, though many bemoan the addictive qualities and low effort in the design of some mobile games.

• In terms of time spent, that amount has increased as more people get into mobile gaming and more games get ported to mobile. Mobile games are often designed to get people to keep playing, and while most users will pass on a game to get to the next big thing, for every reasonably successful mobile game, there is a base of active and likely paying players.

• And when it comes to money, all you need to do is look at mobile gaming revenues over the past few years, and you’ll see the trend:

• This is expected to continue to trend upward for some time. There are threats of government action against some forms of monetization for mobile games, but overall, the games will adapt, and players will continue to play.

All the above is, of course, the tip of the iceberg when it comes to smartphones, but we hope that a few key ideas come through when you think about them in the context of your knowledge and the other trends mentioned in this piece:

• People are spending more and more of their time on their smartphones, and the trend might be slowing in some places, but it is not reversing.

• People are spending more money on smartphones, and companies are investing more money to get people to keep spending (and spending on a particular product or service).

• Given the above two points, smartphone development will continue rapidly, and we can expect innovations that will profoundly affect the tech world and society in general.


There is much more to understand regarding mobile phones and mobile phone usage than we could possibly contain in one article. Yet from these statistics, we hope you gain a better understanding of how smartphones have taken over much of our lives, for better and for worse. We encourage you to do more research if curiosity strikes you, and we invite you to return to this article as needed.