Dining, dating, and digital intrusions – how smartphones shape consumer interactions
September 8th, 2023, Kineree Shah

Dining, dating, and digital intrusions – how smartphones shape consumer interactions

In an era where smartphones rule, YouGov Surveys: Serviced sought to uncover the extent of our digital indulgence, especially during moments traditionally reserved for personal interactions. Across 18 international markets, a fifth of global consumers confess to frequently using their smartphones while socializing at a bar (20%) or dining out with friends or family (21%). However, during dates, this tendency sees a slight reduction, with just over one in six (16%) admitting to this behavior.

Using phones on a date

Dates, traditionally intimate occasions, are now interspersed with smartphone interactions. Leading the pack, the UAE and India see over a third (38% and 33%, respectively) of their consumers often turning to their phones. In contrast, only one in ten Britons use their phones during such moments. The US and Sweden follow suit, with roughly one in ten (10% and 9%, respectively) echoing this sentiment. The tendency is the lowest in Denmark, with only 6% admitting to phone usage on dates.

Checking phones at bars

Bars, synonymous with lively interactions, provide an interesting lens into our digital habits. The UAE leads with almost two in five (39%) patrons frequently checking their phones. Indonesia and India trail closely with 38% and 36%, respectively. More tempered in their approach, the US, Britain, and Sweden see 15%, 18%, and 11% of their populations, respectively, turning to screens amidst bar banter.

Phones at the dinner table

Phones are a common feature at dining tables as well. The UAE and India top the list, with two in five individuals (45% and 43% respectively) multitasking between meals and mobiles. Indonesia stands out in the APAC region, with over a third (37%) often dividing their attention. The US, Britain, and Sweden, meanwhile, display more restrained habits, accounting for 15%, 11%, and 10% respectively.

Implications for brands and marketers

Understanding these behaviors can be invaluable for brands and marketers. For instance, markets with higher phone usage might be ripe for advertisements that engage consumers in these settings, such as QR code-based campaigns or geo-targeted promotions. On the flip side, in markets with lower engagement, marketers might focus on creating compelling content that discourages distractions and encourages genuine interactions.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. The data is based on surveys of adults aged 18+ years in 18 markets with sample sizes varying between 512 and 2,005 for each market. All surveys were conducted online in April 2023. Data from each market uses a nationally representative sample apart from Mexico and India, which use urban representative samples, and Indonesia and Hong Kong, which use online representative samples. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.

Photo by Budgeron Bach