Global: What do consumers use their phones for?
March 10th, 2023, Rishad Dsouza

Global: What do consumers use their phones for?

YouGov Global Profiles, which gathers consumer data on a variety of topics, gives a peek into the activities that consumers use their phones for on a daily basis.

In this piece we look at the top activities and tasks that consumers perform on their phones in five diverse markets – Great Britain, USA, the UAE, India and Australia.

While phones are capable of many functions, their original purpose remains the most popular in three out of our five markets, where voice calling is the number one activity that consumers use their phones for daily.

About two-thirds of consumers in Australia (66%) and India (66%) use their phones to make voice calls every day. In the US (59%) and UAE (61%), three-fifths make voice calls daily with Britain not far behind (57%).

In Britain, email communication takes the top spot, with over three-fifths saying they sue their phones for that purpose daily. Taking pictures (60%) takes a close second, with instant chatting (59%), voice calls and browsing the internet (49%) also featuring in the top five.

In Australia, nearly two-thirds of consumers use their phones daily to take pictures (64%) and for email exchanges (64%). Chatting (54%) and browsing the internet (54%) round off the top five most popular activities there.

Chatting (61%) takes the second spot behind voice calling in India, but an equal share of Indians also use their phones to watch videos (61%). Nearly three-fifths of Indians also use their devices to take photos (57%) on a regular basis. Email communication (56%) is the fifth-most popular activity there.

Over half of Americans use their phones to take pictures (55%), while sending and receiving emails is just as popular (54%). Two-fifths also use their phones to browse the internet on a regular basis (39%). The US is the only market where checking weather forecasts (38%) is a top five daily mobile activity.

In the UAE, nearly two-thirds of consumers (64%) use their devices for chatting, making it the most popular activity in the market. Voice calling claims the second spot (61%), followed by email communication (58%), taking photos (57%) and watching videos (57%)

A possibly surprising finding, particularly in the 5G era, is that browsing the internet is yet to break the top three in any of the markets analyzed in this piece, and even sits out the top five altogether in UAE and India.

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Methodology: YouGov Global Profiles is a globally consistent audience dataset with 1000+ questions across 43 markets. The data is based on continuously collected data from adults aged 18+ years in Great Britain, the US, Australia, India and the UAE. The sample sizes for YouGov Global Profiles will fluctuate over time, however the minimum sample size is always c.1000. Data from each market in this piece uses a nationally representative sample apart from India and UAE, which use urban representative samples. Learn more about Global Profiles.