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Americans Are Getting Addicted to Their Phones, New Report Claims

Business woman using a smart phone

Americans spend at least two hours on their mobile devices, and according to the Pew Research Center, about 67% of them find themselves checking for messages even when their phone didn’t ring or vibrate; 44% have slept with their phone beside their bed at night, just in case they might miss a call; and 29% of cell owners describe their mobile device as “something they can’t imagine living without.”

It’s no secret that Americans love their phones, but as a new study suggests, maybe they love them a little too much.

The Bank of America (BoA) found in its second annual report on consumer mobility that more and more Americans are growing addicted to mobile devices.

The study found that over the past year, the number of mobile devices increased from 1.3 billion to 1.8 billion. People who used apps more than 16 times a day — “super users” — increased from 440 million to 590 million. People who used their phone’s app more than 60 times a day — people who were defined as being addicted to their mobile phones — grew from 176 million to 280 million, a 59% difference over last year.

“When we looked at Mobile Addicts, consumers who launch applications 60 times or more per day, we saw this group is growing at the fastest rate, from 176 million in Q2 2014 to a whopping 280 million in Q2 2015, a 59% increase,” said BoA.

This is not the first time the BoA’s report found the amount of mobile users was increasing at a shocking pace. Last year, it noted that the number of mobile app users in the entire world would have made up the eighth largest population center if combined into a country. Now, it would make the fourth largest country.

What’s most interesting, though, is that the study also looked into how people used their mobile devices, and discovered a trend that may explain why so-called “mobile addiction” is on the rise.

BoA found that messaging apps and social media were the largest category of mobile device usage, followed by utilities and productivity, then games, then financial uses, and lastly media such as news and magazines.

Interestingly, only about half of BoA’s customers visit one of its brick and mortar bank locations anymore; the others prefer to do all of their banking on the mobile app or online.

In other words, perhaps it’s not a matter of people being addicted to their mobile phones. Perhaps it’s more a matter of mobile technology making it easier to take care of things.

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