Aussies spend 4.4b hours online on mobile phones

WE are a nation glued to our smartphones, with Australians spending 4.4 billion hours a year using the internet on their mobile phones.

The independent research, released by Virgin Mobile Australia, also revealed that the number of smartphone users who access the internet via their mobile has tripled since 2010, and the time Aussie smartphone users spend accessing the internet via their mobile has quadrupled with two thirds of Australians now using their smartphone as their main access to the internet (29% in 2010).

As a result of this trend, two thirds of Aussie smartphone users admit they now rely on apps to help them in their every day life, using them for everything from shopping, to eating, to helping them get pregnant.

The most popular smartphone apps are GPS or location apps (60%), weather apps (58%), social media apps such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (56%); gaming apps (51%) and banking and finance apps (50%), with at least half of Aussie smartphone users having downloaded each of these to their phone.

The survey of more than 1,000 Australian smartphone users also revealed that whilst both sexes are equally reliant on their smartphones, all is not equal between the genders.

Men may not like to ask people for directions but they use the GPS on their phone more frequently than women, with almost two thirds using a map app in the last week (64% v 53% females).

And while men may get a bad rap when it comes to video games, it's women who seem to be more addicted: women who have gaming apps on their phone are more likely than men to use them every day (50% v 37% males).

When it comes to app us age overall however, women are more likely to use apps to help them than men (72% v males 66%).

Some of the most common ways the women surveyed have relied on apps for assistance are: by using them to find
their way when lost (53%); remembering what groceries to buy (33%); saving them money when shopping (29%); using them to get fit (16%); and using them to lose weight (11%).

The battle of the sexes also extends to social media use. Women are more prolific on social media with three out of four (74%) saying they use social media on their phone every day (vs only 59% of men).

The genders also differ in the social media platforms they prefer, with men more likely than women to use You Tube (73% v 64%) and Twitter (41% v 34%), while women are more likely to use Facebook (80% v 72%) and Instagram (36% v 31%).

Surprisingly, despite being less active on Instagram, one in three (29%) Aussie men admit to posting a filtered 'selfie'.

Other differences in the way men and women use their smartphones include:

  • Women are more likely to have watched a 'how-to' video on YouTube (40%; v males 33%)
  • One in five men admit to using their smartphones to check sports results at a dinner party (21%; v women 7%).
  • Women are more likely to have looked at photos of food on Instagram (48%; v males 27%).
  • Men are more likely to have checked the weather to gloat to friends abroad/interstate as to how good the weather was (22%; v females 15%).
  • Females are more likely to have checked the weather to decide what to wear that day (60%; v males 47%).
  • Women (47%) are more likely than males (29%) to have looked at photos of old school friends they no longer speak to on Facebook.
  • Men are more likely to have posted a music or entertainment video reel (14% v females 9%).
  • Women are more likely to upload / share photos (59%; v males 45%).

Overall, it appears, Aussie men tend to use apps for more practical and egotistical reasons while Aussie women like to lean on apps for their daily tasks from beauty to chores whilst also using them to socialise and check in on how the rest of the world is doing.

In terms of the types of apps they download, women are more likely than men to have a weather app (60% v 55%), health app (26% v 18%), banking app (52% v 48%), shopping app (42% v 35%), gaming app (53% v 48%) and a photo app (35% v 29%) on their menu bar compared to their male equals.