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The Impact of Smartphones on Society and Business 2017


The continued growth in smartphones usage in Northern Ireland is a key focus of the latest annual Communications Market Report NI by OFCOM.  10 years after the introduction of the first commercial smartphone, the UK is now a smartphone society and useage in Northern Ireland has increased massively in the past four years. The following article looks at the latest figures in NI and the importance of smartphone in the media and wider society.


Northern Ireland Smartphone Usage Figures

The Ofcom report reveals the proportion of adults using a smartphone in Northern Ireland has more than doubled in the past five years. 76% of people in Northern Ireland now use a smartphone – the same level as the rest of the UK.

According to OFCOM 58% internet users in Northern Ireland said that their smartphone was their most important device for going online at home or elsewhere. However this figure in not reflected among older people as only 25% of over-55s considered the smartphone to be their most important device for internet access.

Impact of the Smartphone on Society

Smartphones and tablets now have a very significant impact on how people shop online, access news, services and social media, playing an integral part in the media, entertainment and social lives of people.

According to the Deloitte UK Mobile Consumer Survey 2016, the current trends in the mobile industry reveal some surprising insights including:

  • Younger people are especially reliant on smartphones with 91% of 18–44 year olds owning a smartphone.
  • Almost half of 18-24 year olds check their phone in the middle of the night.
  • 31% of smartphone users make no traditional voice calls in a given week. This contrasts with a quarter in 2015, and just 4% in 2012.
  • The majority of survey participants have downloaded 20 or fewer apps.

Deloitte Smartphone activities 2016 crop



Impact on Social Media and Marketing For Business

The huge and increasing level of smartphone adoption in the UK continues to have a major impact on marketing. Businesses are now under more pressure to ensure their website presence renders effectively across a range of mobile devices and that their marketing takes into account the dominance of smartphones use for accessing the internet.

hand holding screen shot of Facebook application

The ease of smartphone use and rising dependency on them continues to fuel greater use of social media. 20% of all digital media time is spent on social sites or in social media apps, and nearly 80% of all social media time is spent on smartphones.

The massive increase on social media use via mobile has a number of implications for marketing including:

  • Social Advertising: The opportunity to reach important target demographics on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat via social advertising.
  • Increasing importance of investing in quality images, photos and video for PR and marketing via social media (which are now heavily visual platforms)

If you want to read more about the OFCOM CRM Northern Ireland Report – here’s an online link: