07:24 PM

What would you give up for your connection?

Decoding users phone obsession

It’s no secret that today’s consumer has a love-love relationship with their mobile phones. Phones are an extension of our fingers, they are the reason for our carpal tunnel, but not for the reasons you might think. We dug a little deeper into the consumer + cell phone equation to find out – straight from the source – about their phone habits. We surveyed more than 1,000 cell phone users aged 18-34 across the U.S. to get the lowdown.

Here’s what we found:

Not Just a Drinking Game

In a game of “would you rather,” the today’s consumers would give up plenty to feed their cell phone addiction, but pets and personal hygiene are where they draw the line.

72 percent of those surveyed said they’d rather give up their cell phone for a week than say goodbye to a furry friend for the same amount of time. Of those who would say sayonara to their pet to keep their phone relationship alive, men (34 percent) were more likely to do so than women (24 percent).

Approximately 4 out of 5 (83 percent) would also give up their cell phone for a week before they’d give up brushing their teeth – and 5 out of 5 dentists would agree with that choice.

Digital natives are willing to give up some of their favorite luxuries if it means holding onto their phone. Despite this generation’s coffee obsession, 77 percent would gladly give up caffeine for a week over their phone (we’ll see if that changes when pumpkin spice latte season rolls around).

The attraction to TV and movie streaming services is much stronger, with phones narrowly winning out over Netflix for this generation’s heart. 54 percent of respondents would rather give up movies and TV for one month than go without a phone for one week. Now that’s loyalty.

I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T…sort of

The majority of this generation has their own phone service; consumers are jumping from the family plan at an average age of 19. However, more than one-third (39 percent) of this age group are still on their parents’ phone plan, and of those, 57 percent aren’t paying a dime for it.

More than half (53 percent) report having some level of financial support from family members on current expenses. Parents are willing to help out with phone bills for 30 percent of those surveyed, and slightly more for the younger set, 37 percent for those aged 18-29.


Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems. No Data? Even Bigger Problems.


Data keeps them connected, and consumers are well aware that their favorite apps – Netflix (41 percent), Snapchat (19 percent), Instagram (18 percent), and Spotify (10 percent) – are the culprits of their high data use. That’s why 74 percent of the younger generation would prefer to pay a flat rate for unlimited data, texting, and calling over paying for exactly how much they use their phone.

Nothing in life is certain except death, taxes and confusing phone plans

As the meme universe knows, what we learned in school isn’t always useful when we’re #adulting. It’s not surprising, then, that only 22 percent of respondents reported being very knowledgeable about their tax return, and even fewer (14 percent) could say the same for their retirement plan.

Thankfully, understanding of cell phone plans was slightly higher among this generation at 40 percent. But modern cell phone plans do present a pain point for consumers, with complicated contracts (17 percent) and long-term commitments (14 percent) representing some of the top cell phone annoyances among this generation. Younger consumers (18-29) found contracts more annoying than the older set (30-34) at 18 versus 13 percent.

Sorry my phone died….

Isn’t just what someone says when they’re trying to ghost you. Today’s consumers are more conscientious than ever about what they’re willing to waste their battery on (if only we had that same mindset when it came to budgeting).

But the reasons that most respondents are most likely to use up their battery may surprise you: 77 percent would rather use up their phone battery to chat to a loved one than for rideshare services (35 percent), Spotify streaming (21 percent), and social sharing (11 percent) combined. Other popular uses of phone battery included avoiding traffic via apps like Waze or Google Maps (44 percent) and documenting experiences (42 percent).

So, there you have it: Today’s consumers have a special place in their hearts for their phones, but there are some parts of the phone experience they could live without.

To learn more about Visible and how we’re working to change the way our members experience phone service, head to https://www.visible.com/.