How Much Time Does the Average American Spend on Their Phone in 2021?

In the internet age, it’s no surprise that smartphone usage has gone up substantially. So, exactly how much time does the average American spend on their phone in 2021? 

The short answer? A lot. 

Chances are you’re reading this on your phone right now. We don’t blame you— it’s the easiest way to access most content, right? 

In fact, 54.8% of all global online traffic is done using a mobile device, and 3.5 billion people have smartphones! Smartphones have officially breached the halfway mark and have edged out desktops and laptops as the method of browsing the web. 

Of course, this increased usage has a lot of implications for marketers, brands, businesses, content creators, and more. That’s also likely why you’re reading this article. 

Americans are huge consumers of social media; almost all social media networks see the majority of users from the United States, and at the very least, they are in the top 3 of the user base. 

Just recently, India edged out the US with 180 million to show up the US’s 170 million. Even still, the amount of time that Americans spend on their phone can have big implications for those looking to take advantage of social media marketing and other online endeavors. 

In this article, we’re going to give you the most up-to-date statistics on how much time Americans are spending on their phone, what’s happening globally, as well as what this means for you as a marketer or content creator. 

Americans and Smartphones: At a Glance 

Curious to see some of the most pertinent information about how much time Americans spend on their phones? Here are some astounding stats: 

  • Americans spend roughly 5.4 hours on their mobile phones every day. 
  • Up to 63 times per day, mobile phone users typically check their phones. 
  • 13% of millennials spend over 12 hours using their phone on a daily basis. 
  • Social Media clocks about 2 hours and 24 minutes of global time spent online by the average daily user. 
  • There are around 298 million smartphone users in America as of 2021. 
  • Millenials spend 48 minutes of their day texting. 
  • Baby Boomers spend 5 hours using their phones. 

While most people like to downplay the amount of time spent on their mobile devices, the stats don’t lie. Keep reading for more! 

Americans Phone Usage Statistics 

Phone Usage

As we mentioned earlier, mobile phones provide over half of all internet browsing traffic. This has increased year over year, and is likely to only continue climbing. Let’s start with some general stats about American mobile phone use. 

1. Using Their Mobile Devices, 86% of Americans Browse the Internet Daily. 

Mobile phones make our lives easier, no doubt. They’re flexible, easy to use, and convenient to grab and go. They offer the user quick and easily accessible information no matter where they need it. 

9 out of 10 Americans go online every day and 86% frequently use mobile phones to do so. 

Thus, there’s no surprise that over 92% of global internet users access the internet using a mobile device, equaling about 4.32 billion.

(Source: Oberlo, Statista) 

2. Americans Spend Roughly 5.4 Hours of Screen Time Browsing Their Mobile Phones Every Day. 

Based on screen time statistics for Americans, the average American tops the 5-hour mark using their phone on a daily basis. 

In fact, going one step further, reports disclose that heavy phone users will touch their phone on average of 5,427 times every day. 

(Source: ZDNet) 

3. the US Smartphone Market Is the Largest in The World.

While there’s no doubt that globally, smartphones have forever changed the course of the world and made a huge mark on our lives daily, the United States has taken this to the next level. 

There are a total of 294.15 million smartphone users in the United States, with a forecasted $73 billion dollar revenue figure in 2021 via smartphone sales. 

(Source: Statista) 

4. the Average Mobile Phone User Will Check Their Phone up To 63 Times Throughout the Day. 

According to a Slick Text article about smartphone addiction, the average smartphone user checks their phone up to 63 times per day. This figure lands somewhat in the middle of other studies that have been known to appear online. 

One article from Elite Content Marketer asserts that smartphone users check their phones on average 58 times per day, while survey results from global tech care company Asurion say that Americans check their phone about 96 times per day. 

While this number may vary, it’s clear that the number is only going up, and people recognize it. 

(Source: Slick text, Elite Content Marketer, Fox 13 Seattle) 

How Do Americans Use Mobile Phones? 

Phone Usage

Mobile phones have made people’s lives exponentially easier, facilitating tasks on the go and offering more possibilities and functionalities. 

With smartphones, people can now call, text, shop, sell, send, receive, locate, and so much more using their mobile devices. 

Here are some additional statistics about how Americans use their mobile phones. 

5. Americans Spend an Average of 6 Hours and 31 Minutes Online Daily According to American Phone Usage Statistics. 

The global average for internet usage on any device is 6 hours and 40 minutes, and Americans clock 6 hours and 31 minutes according to statistics from Small Biz Trends, showing that they live up to the global average just about. 

While the average is still higher for time spent on a laptop or desktop out of this total 6 hours and 31 minutes, this may have additional factors such as work and business. 

(Source: Small Biz Trends)

6. 81% of American Adults Use the Internet Every Day. 

No matter if they’re millennials or baby boomers or Gen Z, research has shown that a huge percentage of the US population is online every single day. 

(Source: Oberlo) 

7. American Millenials Spend 5.7 Hours Every Day on Mobile Phones. 

Millennials are the largest group of social media users on most platforms, so you may be wondering how much time they spend on their devices. 

Millennials spend roughly 5.7 hours every day on their device. 

This seems like a lot of time for someone to spend on a mobile phone every day, but this isn’t even the highest number — it’s been shown that almost half of Gen Z spends up to 10 hours online on their phones every day. 

(Source: ZDNet) 

8. Baby Boomers Spend More Time on Email than Millennials — 43 Minutes Compared to 10. 

Email is one of the main things that has baby boomers hooked on their mobile phones. They are typically working and corresponding with business contacts, so it makes sense that they are likely to be dipping into smartphone use primarily for this reason. 

This is no surprise, then, considering that email is the most preferred form of contact for those in business, according to Entrepreneur. 

(Source: ZDNet)

9. Baby Boomers Spend only 30 Minutes Texting While Millennials Spend 48 Minutes per Day. 

Both groups are among those that prefer to text, and they compose the highest percentage of mobile phone users that hold this preference. 

According to ZDNet reports, millennials are likely to spend more time texting than talking on the phone as well— 48 minutes texting compared to 41 minutes on the phone

Boomers only clocked about 30 minutes daily texting, and this may have to do with work or business as well. 

(Source: ZDNet) 

10. Baby Boomers Spend About 5 Hours on Their Mobile Phones Daily.  

Although it seems that baby boomers aren’t likely to care much about mobile phone usage, the ones that do have a phone have taken to it quite nicely. 

You’d think millennials and other age groups would be way ahead in terms of time spent on a mobile phone, but boomers are not too far in the shadows, spending about 5 hours per day on their phone total. 

(Source: ZDNet) 

11. Over 12 Hours Are Spent on Mobile by About 13% of Millennials. 

Although this percentage seems like a low number of people, it’s still quite significant in terms of numbers. Over half of a day is spent on mobile devices by almost a fifth of all millennials. 

There are 5% of boomers that also reported over 12+ hours on their mobile devices every day. 

(Source: ZDNet) 

12. the Average Time Spent on Social Media in The Us Is 2 Hours and 3 Minutes per Day. 

The US doesn’t hold the most time spent on social media even though they have large numbers in terms of mobile phone usage. 

On social media, Americans spent 2 hours and 3 minute per day in 2020. This data was released in January of 2021 from Statista, showing that the country with the most social media use is the Philippines, with about 3 hours and 53 minutes on different platforms every day. 

(Source: Statista) 

How Many Americans Own Smartphones? 

Phone Usage

As we mentioned in the previous section, the smartphone market in the United States is booming and is one of the most prominent on a global scale. Smartphone ownership, already high, continues to rise, and it will continue this trend. 

Nearly all households in America have at least one smartphone. Regardless of age or gender, most everyone is a smartphone owner. 

13. There Are 294.15 Million Smartphone Users in The Us. 

This number is expected to increase, and it’s looking to be around 298 million by the end of 2021. 

The US has a huge smartphone penetration as well, although it does fall behind countries like the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and Mexico. The US comes in with 72.2% penetration in the market. 

(Source: Statista) 

14.  91% of American College Graduates Are Smartphone Owners. 

Based on reports from Bank My Cell, college graduates in America are big consumers of smartphones, likely because it facilitates easy work and accessible information at the drop of a hat. 

Almost all college graduates in the country own smartphones. 

(Source: Bank My Cell)

15. American People Aged 65+ Are Slow to Adapt to Cell Phone Use, with Only 46% Ownership. 

While college graduates are big consumers of smartphones, those in the older generations have been slow on the uptake. Only 4 out of 10 baby boomers own mobile devices, and many say that they prefer to access the internet on their PCs. 

That said, it’s still an increase based on similar research from 2013 when only a mere 13% of baby boomers owned a smartphone. It confirms that smartphone ownership continues to be on the rise across all age groups. 

(Source: Bank My Cell) 

16. 94% of Us 18-29 Year Olds Own a Smartphone According to American Phone Usage Statistics. 

This is probably one of the least surprising statistics, as all of those in this age group are digital natives, which means technology is innately embedded into their everyday lives. This is what also plays into the high penetration rate of the US smartphone market. 

While 94% of this age group are smartphone owners, 100% of those between 18-29 own some type of mobile phone for communication. 

(Source: Bank My Cell) 

Screen Time in America 

Now that we have some statistics on how much time the average american spends on their phone, let’s talk about screen time. Is screen time increasing? 

Screen time is increasing in America. This is due, in part, to smartphones. While it’s not the only place Americans have access to a screen, it’s literally in people’s pocket at any given moment. 

The screen time statistics for Americans below will give more insight into this phenomenon. 

17. The Average American Spends Roughly 10 Hours and 39 Minutes On-Screen Every Day. 

This figure includes all different types of devices, including smartphones, video games, personal computers, TVs, tablets, radios, DVRs, and DVDs. 

Screen time was also on the rise due to COVID-19 and working from home, allowing people to continue doing things via screens that they used to do in person. 

(Source: CNN) 

18. American Adults Spend About 4 Hours and 30 Minutes Every Day Watching Tv Shows and Movies. 

With the ease of streaming and access to movies and series, the amount of screen time that adults use on their TVs and streaming devices is still substantial. While mobile devices still occupy a lot of screen time, TV shouldn’t be discounted. 

Teenagers and young adults are also known to spend quite a bit of time in front of the tube or even on tablets and other streaming devices.  

(Source: CNN)

19. 9 Hours a Day Are Spent in Front of Screens by American Teens. 

Teens and young adults are now clocking major screen time. Screen time is highest amongst American teenagers. More than 7 of the hours teens spend in front of a screen is done on mobile phones. 

(Source: CNN) 

Smartphone Addiction Stats 

Phone Usage

While many find it exciting for marketing efforts and the possibility of global connection, experts are starting to show worry about the average time Americans spend on their phones and possible health and social consequences that may ensue. 

Over time, issues such as obesity, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and more have been associated with high screen time. 

Below are four impactful smartphone addiction stats. 

20. 50% of American Teens Confess that They Are Addicted to Their Cell Phones.

One of the biggest reasons for teen smartphone addiction is the desire to respond to messages that come into their cell phones. 


There are also tons of fun apps, games, and social networks that are easily accessible (and often free) in both the Android and iOS app stores. 

This can be curbed by parental controls, but still has a heavy impact on teens and may even be caused by social peer pressure. 

(Source: Online King) 

21. 69% of American Mobile Device Users Would Rather Avoid Talking to An In-Store Employee and Consult Their Phone. 

If an American is shopping in a store, recent data suggests that they’d rather look online for customer reviews than ask an in-store employee for their thoughts or opinions. 

In addition, 58% of in-store shoppers look online for price comparisons as well as similar items for the ones they’re actively shopping for in a physical location. 

This not only indicates a smartphone addiction but also demonstrates the dependency that Americans have on their smartphones. 

(Source: Oberlo) 

22. 70% of The Total Digital Media Time Is Spent on Smartphones in The United States. 

Undoubtedly, there are a lot of people on their phones in the United States. In just four years, there was a 22.8% increase in the time spent consuming digital media via smartphones. 

In 2014, the consumption rate of time spent was only 57%. 

(Source: Comscore)

23. only 41% of People Succeed in Restricting Their Phone Usage. 

People in the US as well as those around the world have been able to identify the issue and try to implement controls and limits to curb their smartphone addiction. 58% of people tried to restrict their phone usage, but only 41% actually succeeded in doing so. 

That does show promise in trying to address the issue of smartphone addiction and even phone providers are implementing things like app limits and screen time reports that users can rely on. 

(Source: Slick Text) 

How Much Time Does the Average Person Spend on Their Phone around the Globe? 

Phone Usage

The trend of increasing smartphone use and screen time isn’t just a phenomenon happening in America— this is something that has spread across the globe. The following statistics about global mobile phone use can help us understand this a bit more. 

24. 92% of World Internet Users Are Using Mobile Devices to Surf the Web. 

According to various statistics, there are 4.54 billion active internet users of the world’s 7.9 billion population. 

92% of these active internet users surf the web using their mobile devices, which is quite a substantial figure. 

(Source: Statista, Data Reportal) 

25. Global Smartphone Users Reach 6.37 Billion in 2021. 

This figure confirms that a smartphone is owned by 80.69% of the world’s population, up from a mere 49.4% (3.668 billion) in 2016. 

It’s projected by Ericsson & The Radicati Group that this number will increase to 7.33 billion by 2025, which is almost 100% of the current global population. 

(Source: Bank My Cell) 

26. an Average Screen Time of 2 Hours and 51 Minutes Is Clocked by Smartphone Users. 

iOS and Android are the two main operating systems for all smartphones on the market today. There is such ease and convenience that comes along with either platform, which has aided with the seamless global adoption that smartphones have seen. 

What’s more, tablets are also showing strong numbers alongside smartphones due to their portability and larger screen size. For example, baby boomers prefer to use a tablet over a smartphone. 

Smartphone and tablet owners spend a total time of 4 hours and 33 minutes on their devices every day. 

(Source: Slick Text, IT Web) 

How Much Time Do People Spend Online Around the Globe? 

Phone Usage

Now that we’ve got some solid information about how much time does the average American spend on their phone and global smartphone use, let’s check out internet use. 

Much to no one’s surprise, people spend more time online than they did in previous decades. This has increased time spent in front of a phone screen. 

There are a variety of reasons for this shift. 

The internet is much faster now and devices are more accessible than they have been in the past. Signals are stronger and virtually any location, public or private, has an internet connection. 

So, with so much time spent online, what are people doing? 

27. 84% of The 4.5 Billion Global Internet Users Access Social Media Every Month. 

Social media is one of the main staples of smartphone use and is popular on a global scale. Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, WhatsApp, and more are a big consumer of mobile phone use. 

The average internet user has around 8 social media accounts and almost all of the younger generation is using at least one social media network. 

(Source: Data Reportal) 

28. Social Media Eats up 2 Hours and 24 Minutes of Global Internet Time by The Average Daily User. 

The Philippines has the highest social media use of any country, with an average daily social media usage of almost 4 hours. 

That is the highest metric ever registered for social media usage on a global scale. 

Not all countries are extremely active on social media, however— countries like Japan and South Korea have under 45 minutes a day of social media use. 

(Source: Data Reportal) 

29. the Average Internet User Is Online for About 6 Hours and 30 Minutes per Day Based on Global Screen Time Statistics. 

Similarly to their high social media use time, the Philippines has a high internet use time, clocking 9 hours and 45 minutes daily. 

Japan also reflects their social media use time in their internet use overall, with only 4 hours and 22 minutes online, lower than the typical baby boomer in the United States. 

(Source: Data Reportal) 

Global Screen Time Statistics and Demographics 

Around the globe, screen time for men and women are a bit different. Men typically spend their screen time on things like business and entertainment, and women have been found to spend more screen time on relationships, entertainment, and self-help. 

Below you’ll find more about global screen time statistics demographics. 

30. 80% of Men in The Us Use Smartphones According to American Phone Usage Statistics. 

Men use smartphones more than women in the US. That said, women aren’t too far behind, with 75% of American women using smartphones. 

While more men have smartphones, that also doesn’t deter women from being more active on them; women are more socially active than men, with 78% to 65%, respectively

(Source: Bank My Cell)

31. Women in South Asia Are Three Times Less Likely to Use Social Media in Comparison with Men in The Same Region. 

While experts try to link this large gap to economic instability, the reason isn’t purely based on the economy. Social media in South Asia is widely seen as a corrupt form of media. 

In addition, the cultural view is that women are more likely to fall victim to its corrupting principles than men. This is one of the main reasons why it’s less common to see women on social media in the region. 

(Source: The Next Web) 

32. More than Half of The Indian Woman Population Doesn’t Know About Mobile Internet. 

Even though India has shown extremely high user bases on many social networks, it’s common for people to view social media as corrupting, especially for women. 

Apps like TikTok and Instagram, though, are slowly starting to break with convention. In 2019, India had the highest market share for TikTok screen time. The US edged them out in 2020, but India still occupies the largest amount of Instagram users. 

Most of the users in India are male, but it’s still a notable increase. 

(Source: The Next web, Statista) 

Smartphones Fun Facts 

Curious about how smartphones came to be and some fun facts about the little gadgets that now invade every corner of our lives? 

Here we’re going to give you three fun facts about smartphones. 

33. IBM Created the First Smartphone in 1994 

Known as Simon, the first smartphone hit the market in 1994 and was released by IBM. While this was a huge innovation, the phone was plagued with a variety of issues, including a battery life of only an hour depending on what you did with it. 

The device wasn’t warmly welcomed, and it was only sold for about six months with sales of only 50k units. 

Many people may mistakenly believe that the iPhone was the first-ever smartphone, mainly due to its unique and attractive technology that connected people. 

(Source: World Economic Forum, Inc.)

34. iPad Was in The Works Before iPhone 

Even though, as we know it, iPads arrived after the iPhone, it was actually the project that cleared the way for the iPhone to be born into existence. 

Steve Jobs himself discussed the idea for the iPad while he was developing it, and when the display came back to him, he had an epiphany about the potential to turn this into a phone. Thus, the iPhone was born, and the iPad was put on hold until it was released later on. 

(Source: BestLife) 

35. The World’s First GSM Phone Call Was Made on A Nokia Phone in 1991 

Even though Nokia cell phones weren’t technically smartphones, they set the stage for the smartphone to shine in many ways. From fun games such as snake to hosting the first GSM phone call, Nokia has a place in the history books for sure. 

Nokia hasn’t maintained its reputation through the development of smartphones, but many people look back on the brand with nostalgia and good memories. 

(Source: BestLife) 

What Screen Time Means for Social Media Marketers 

It’s no surprise that people these days are spending tons of time on their personal devices. With so much to do, so many platforms to enjoy, and an endless supply of content and networking opportunities, smartphones are vital. 

That means if you’re not using marketing strategies that can be responsive for mobile devices, you’re already one step behind. 

Even further, if you’re not using social media marketing, you’re also way behind. Social media is one of the preferred ways for consumers to find out information about products and services available to them, so it’s worth investing some time and marketing dollars into. 

How to Spend Less Time on Your Phone

Phone Usage

If you’ve been traumatized by this article and would like to consider some ways you can minimize your screen time, we’ve got some tips for you. 

Even if you use your smartphone for business and other important things, you can implement the following three tips to help you limit your screen time. 

1. Turn Off Notifications 

When you turn off the notifications for all apps, you can avoid any distractions and temptations to check your phone. This is a good thing to do especially if you’re trying to take care of an important task, spend time with family or friends, or simply get some rest. 

2. Use “do Not Disturb” as Frequently as Possible 

You can use the Do Not Disturb feature in many situations— at work, while driving, when out with friends and family, or when you’re trying to get some rest. The feature ensures that you don’t get any social media messages on your phone, simply allowing calls and texts to come through when you might need them most. 

3. Set Limits and Schedules 

If you find that you’re using your phone too much, set aside certain moments in the day when you allow yourself to use particular apps that you think take up too much of your time. You can do this on your own or even set limits for the apps themselves so that you’ll be alerted when your time has run out for the day. 

Another way to help minimize phone usage is to disable the Raise to Wake feature. Usually when you touch or lift your phone, the screen turns on, leading to you unlocking your phone and browsing around. When you turn that off, you’ll be less likely to open it up for a quick peek that turns into a binge session. 

Final Thoughts: The World is Basically Addicted to Mobile Phones

There’s no denying that the smartphone has completely revolutionized the way that people interact with others as well as the world around them. While offering a world of convenience and possibility, there may be some negative effects if people don’t take steps to use their phones in a healthy way. 

Americans spend roughly 5 hours a day on their phone, which is a pretty high number. 

If you’re a marketer, however, this may be great news— you’ll never have to worry about reaching your target audience via social channels or other online outlets. 

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