Smartphone addicts research

Since mobile phones were first invented, society has been obsessed them. Countless studies have been conducted to determine how age and gender affect smartphone usage, the most common reasons people will use their phone, and, more recently, Apple have rolled out a new update that tells users how often they’re on their phones every day – and what they’re using it for. In fact, studies have found that more than half of 16-24 year olds believed they thought they were using their phones too much, and 55% of people will check their phones within 15 minutes of waking up.

Our newly released, Global Phone Addicts Ranking, looks at which countries around the world use their phone the most.

To determine this we analysed a variety of factors relating to phone usage for every country in the world, including number of phone subscriptions, the percentage of the population that used Facebook and Instagram, and 4G connectivity rates. We awarded each country a score for each category and we then ranked these countries based on their final total score.

The country coming in as the most addicted to their phones was, perhaps shockingly, Qatar, with the United Arab Emirates and Singapore coming in second and third.
Qatar offers an impressive 54.3Mbps when it comes to mobile broadband speeds, more than double that offered by the United Kingdom, and Singapore offers even more at a remarkable 57.37Mbps. Not only this, but 115% of Qatar’s population is on Facebook, which means that it is so common and used so often that some people even have more than one account.

Have a look below at our breakdown of the countries most addicted to their phones around the world.

Qatar scored highly thanks to its high 4G internet connectivity, and number of Facebook users. Not only this, but the country also has 147.1 phone subscriptions per 100 people, which means that nearly half of the population has more than one phone subscription. 92% of the country is a regular internet user, and at least 30% of the population is on Instagram, one of the top 30 in the country.

Following Qatar, the top 10 countries are:

2. United Arab Emirates
3. Singapore
4. Sweden
5. Norway
6. Iceland
7. New Zealand
8. Montenegro
9. Kuwait
10. Cyprus

The UAE and Singapore ranked highly for similar reasons to Qatar; the UAE has 204 mobile phone subscriptions per every 100 people in the country, while Singapore has 146. In addition, 91.9% and 82.5% of the population are Internet users respectively, and at least 80% of the people living there have active Facebook profiles.

Norway and Iceland, on the other hand, had some of the highest levels of 4G connectivity of all the countries we surveyed, with 67.12 and 61.08Mbps respectively. Similarly, Cyprus has 42% of its population active on Instagram, and Kuwait has 97.69% of its population on Facebook. Clearly, Facebook is the most popular social media site no matter where you are in the world.

The results by continent are as below:

Country most addicted to their phones in Asia: Qatar
Country most addicted to their phones in Europe: Sweden
Country most addicted to their phones in Africa: South Africa
Country most addicted to their phones in North America: United States of America
Country most addicted to their phones in South America: Uruguay
Country most addicted to their phones in Oceania: New Zealand

Obviously, people can’t be addicted to their phones if they don’t have a phone, and the easiest way to determine this data is by looking at the number of mobile phone subscriptions, per 100 members of the population. Interestingly, the top two countries both had over 200 mobile phone subscriptions for every 100 people in the country: the Maldives, with 206.3, and the United Arab Emirates with 204. The lowest, on the other hand, was Antigua and Barbuda with only 1.2 mobile phone subscriptions per 100 of the population.

While you can use your phone without having 4G, good levels of 4G connectivity in a country is likely to result in more on-the go mobile phone usage. Norway comes out on top here, with an average internet speed of 67.1Mbps. Niger was also found to have a high internet connectivity rate at 62.8Mbps. This is compared to Cameroon in the bottom spot, which only manages 0.9Mbps.

As of October 2018, almost 4.2 billion people were active internet users, and it was found that 48.2% of total web traffic around the world was accessed via a mobile phone. That’s why it’s important to assess how much each country is using the internet in general, and then it’s a pretty safe assumption that 48.2% of this is via a mobile phone device.

The top 3 countries for number of Internet users were Iceland, Norway, and Bermuda, with 100%, 98% and 97% of the population using the Internet respectively. With this in mind, we can assume that 48.2% (in Iceland), 47.24% (in Norway), and 46.75% (in Bermuda) of this usage was done on a phone. Contrastingly, the bottom three countries were Niger, Myanmar, and Tanzania, where only roughly 3% of the population used the internet at all.

Instagram is one of the most popular social networks worldwide, and it’s almost exclusively used on a smartphone – in fact, a lot of its features can’t even be used on a desktop, such as direct messaging. So, having it on your phone is pretty much a must, as can be seen in Brunei Darussalam, where 48.38% of the population are Instagram users. The next two highest levels of Instagram usage were found in Sweden and Iceland, with 47.08% and 44.41% respectively.

Neither Cape Verde nor China had any Instagram users, although Instagram is banned in China which would explain this statistic. Sudan also scored poorly, with 4% of the population having an Instagram profile.

Facebook is still undeniably the largest social networking site there is, and the Facebook app and messenger app are the two top mobile apps based on number of downloads. This dominance of mobile proves that people are seeking their social media content on their phones, pointing towards a dominance of mobile networking in society.

The top two countries with the highest number of Facebook users per percentage of the population were Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, both of which had over 100%; 115% of Qatar’s population has an active Facebook profile, and 104.8% of UAE’s population has one, which means at least some of the population has more than one. Contrastingly, China has 0 – but, again, Facebook is typically banned in China, which would explain this statistic. Niger is the second lowest, with only 2.2% of the population using Facebook. Apart from China though, every single country uses the social media giant.

To compile the Global Phone Addicts Ranking, we looked at various datasets in order to assess how each individual country fared across the various factors associated with mobile phone usage. The elements we found to be important were:

  • - Number of Mobile Phone Subscriptions
  • - 4G Connectivity
  • - Internet Users
  • - Instagram Users
  • - Facebook Users
In order to identify exactly what each destinationhad to offer, we searched through a variety of different sources. These included the number of active Instagram and Facebook profiles there were for each country, calculated according to the population size. We also looked at the average 4G connectivity rates, the number of internet users, and the number of mobile phone subscriptions per every 100 people in the country.

For each of the above categories, we scored each country from 1-5 (with 5 being the highest) and added these scores together in order to get our final GPAR score, with a total of 25 being the highest available. We then ranked the countries based on their scores.

Where there was a tie in the GPAR score, the number of phone subscriptions was used as the final ranking factor.

The full dataset is available upon request.