10 May 2022

What is the role of smartphones in our lives? Different countries, different stories

Each of us uses a mobile phone at least several times a day. Interestingly, the way and style we use the phone is influenced not only by our individual preferences, but also by the country of our origin and its specific culture.

You glance at your smartphone 63 times a day

According to the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union, there are about 6.2 billion smartphones in the world. Unfortunately, this does not mean that every inhabitant of our planet owns one. In countries such as Zambia and Kenya, only about half of the population has a telephone. Regardless of nationality and financial status, the mobile phone is used by consumers in various parts of the world to contact their loved ones, take care of everyday matters and have fun. Glancing at a cell phone has become a regular part of our day – the average person does it around 63 times a day!

Record holders from Brazil and Indonesia

The data published this year by the analytical company Data.ai shows that the daily time of using the phone in different countries may vary by even up to 50%! Brazilians and Indonesians are among the most “glued” to their cell phones spending an average of 5.4 hours a day with their phones in their hands. South Korean citizens are also on the high ranking position – 5 hours, Mexicans – 4.8, Indians – 4.7 and Japanese – 4.6. On the opposite side, the Chinese – 3.2 hours a day, the Germans – 3.4, the French and Argentinians – 3.6. [1]

The first phone in life

The result of a study conducted among American parents, which shows that approx. 40 percent of them equip their children with the first telephone before they turn 10 [2], may be surprising. The youngest ones are given their first own mobile phone already at the age of 3. This might be a reason to worry since, according to other statistics, nearly half of American adults admit that they are dependent on their phone (47 percent) and feel anxious when the battery in their device drops below 20 percent (48 percent), and consider their phone the most valuable item [3].

Highest number of downloaded apps

And what are the national preferences for using mobile phone apps? In terms of the volume of data downloaded from application stores, the Chinese are already in the lead, with a total of 98.4 billion applications downloaded last year, India is second with a result of only 26.7 billion, and the third – the US – 12.2 billion.

Generation Z

The popularity of specific applications, of course, also depends on the generation in a given country. In European countries, the USA, Canada and Australia, Gen Z is most likely to use Instagram, TikTok and Spotify. In Japan, the same group of users mainly uses the local messenger LINE, Instagram and, interestingly, Twitter. In South Korea the most popular is the Korean communication application KakaoTalk, Instagram and Facebook, the last one considered to be the favorite medium of millennials in Europe and North America.

Representatives of this generation in Europe, the USA and Canada also prefer to use Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp and here again they differ completely from their Asian counterparts. Those in Japan use Facebook on the second place, right after the Amazon’s application. For Koreans, number 1 is the local version of the Google browser – Naver and the Coupang online store.

Dating apps

Tinder is the leader among dating apps. This is where the citizens of most countries in both Americas and Europe log in most often. More diversity occurs in Asian countries. Chinese date via Soul, Koreans – WIPPY, Indians  – CuteU, and Thai, Malaysian and Taiwanese citizens search for partners in Omi.


Many of the habits related to using mobile phones are similar in different parts of the world, however, there are also many differences depending on longitude and latitude. They are often related to local economic or cultural conditions. When visiting another continent, don’t be surprised when the applications popular in your country are not so widely known there, and our favorite messaging client app is not used by newly acquainted persons!

[1] https://www.data.ai/en/go/state-of-mobile-2022
[2] SellCell.com Kids Cell Phone Usage Survey
[3] https://leftronic.com/blog/smartphone-usage-statistics/

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