According to a new Consumer Smartphone Usage survey by Adoozy, we’re so attached to our smartphones- and what they give us in our daily lives – that we can’t go more than one hour without them.

Made up of predominantly young South Africans (ages 18 – 35 years), nearly half of the survey respondents (40%) said they’d rather endure the frustration of sitting in a traffic jam than having to part with their phone. And almost 16% would rather tolerate the pain and trauma of a visit to the dentist than be without their device.

Ninety-two percent believe they couldn’t last longer than 24 hours without having their mobile device close to hand, with 64% saying they couldn’t even make a whole hour.

“Young South Africans, in particular, get a lot of flack over how much time they spend on their phones,” says Adoozy CEO, Kegan Peffer. “Of course, we should be using smartphones responsibly. But people have fully embraced the extent to which a modern mobile phone can enhance and add value to their daily lives.

“For example, in a country bedevilled by crime and violence against women, 72% of respondents in our survey answered ‘yes’ to the question ‘have you ever used your mobile phone to get out of a dangerous situation?’ That is a potentially life-saving benefit.”

Adds Peffer: “South African consumers use their smartphones every day to send money, to bank and make payments, buy food, for ride-hailing, to navigate their way around, and to be more effective at work and in their businesses. They even rely on their phones to monitor their health with apps like fitness trackers. What’s not to like about that?”

What do we mostly use our phones for? According to the Adoozy survey, half of us (49,5%) say its banking, sending money, and doing similar transactions. Ordering ride-hailing services such as Uber or Bolt comes in second (23,6%), with GPS navigation not far behind (19,1%), followed by ordering food and groceries via our smartphone.

It’s a productive tool too. Around 63% of respondents report that they “always” use it for work, while 29% say they “sometimes” do. Similarly, 34,8% “frequently” use their phone for work meetings on platforms like Teams or Zoom, while 49,4% “sometimes” do. A whopping 70% said being able to use their smartphone for work makes them more productive.

“For corporate work-from-homers, busy executives, hustling entrepreneurs and the self-employed, the smartphone has been a game changer,” observes Peffer. “In an economy where entrepreneurs and small businesses are our hope for the future, it’s an office in your pocket or your handbag.

“As AI becomes more incorporated into smartphones, that capability will only increase. For example, the international Computing Technology Industry Association published statistics in February this year indicating that 97% of mobile users are already using AI-powered voice assistants.”

What smartphone feature do South African consumers least use? No surprise – it’s the venerable SMS, which is now more than 20 years old. Only 1% survey respondents said they communicate via SMS.

With smartphones being such a vital part of our everyday life, it’s no surprise that a common problem South Africans face is running out of power – something not helped by loadshedding. A total of 52,8% of respondents say they run out of mobile phone battery power once a day, while 29,2% run out twice a day.

Other key takeouts from the Adoozy Consumer Smartphone Usage survey include:

* 74% of respondents use their phone for physical and mental health benefits such as fitness trackers, heart rate monitors, blood pressure checkers or meditation apps.

* When it comes to communicating with others, 55% prefer to use instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp, 22,5% prefer social media direct messaging (for example, on Facebook or Instagram), and 21,3% prefer phone calls.

* 65,2% of respondents are in favour of voice notes, while 19,1% “can’t stand them”.

* The most commonly used app is Uber (29,2%), followed by Eskom Se Push (25,8%), Takealot (13,5%), and Checkers Sixty60 (11,2%). With the recent arrival of Amazon in South Africa, expect its app to begin making headway here.

* Respondents ranked social media as being the most important thing they use their phone for, followed by work, consuming news, streaming entertainment, and playing games.

* 59,5% of people said they were “sometimes” caught without mobile power and with no means to charge their phone. 12,4% said this happened “frequently”.