A New Online Tool Reveals ‘Your Phone Life’ Of The Past And Future

  • The average Briton spends 108 minutes on the phone each week, and sends an average of 57 messages per day
  • Out of talk time? 22 to 35 year olds over-index on messaging, sending 120 messages per day compared to 46-50 year olds, who only send around 10 messages per day
  • Brits spend £50.29 on their mobile phone contract, apps and music downloads/streaming each month
  • 20 hours is the average amount of time a week spent on the internet and social media apps

The team at www.sellmymobile.com recently carried out a study to determine how British people interact with their phones each day, and build a picture of their future user habits.


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Consequently, they built ‘Your Phone Life,’ an online tool that enables users to see how much they’ve used their phones over the years, from their first handset to the most recent. Then, based on averages from the prior research, the tool calculates what their phone usage in the future will look like/total.

The team determined these averages by looking at the phone habits of 2,000 British people. Moreover, parents were also quizzed on the phone habits of their children to estimate phone usage for the younger age brackets.

Key findings uncovered from the study were:

  • 108 minutes – how long the average person spends talking on the phone each week
  • 57 messages – the average number of messages sent per person daily
  • £37 – the cost of the average monthly mobile phone contract / PAYG
  • 21 months – the average length of time Britons keep a handset before upgrading/replacing
  • 18 selfies – taken on average, per week, on a mobile phone
  • 14 – the average number of photographs each person takes on a mobile phone each day
  • £13.29 – the average amount spent on apps, in-app purchases and music downloads/streaming each month
  • 2 hours – average amount of time spent on social media apps daily
  • 6 hours – average amount of time spent browsing online each week

The ‘Your Phone Life’ widget will calculate phone life ‘so far’ and phone life ‘of the future’. Phone life ‘so far’ requires users to enter their current age, as well as the age they were when they received their first handset. The online tool then returns statistics that outline their phone life to date, including number of messages sent, minutes spent on the phone, photos taken and also how much they’ve spent on contracts and add-ons.

For example, someone who got their first mobile phone at 10 years old and has just turned 25 will have spent 2,016 hours on calls, sent more than 540,500 messages and will have taken more than 114,975 photographs on their phone (of which as many as 23,400 will have been selfies).

The calculations are based on averages set by the team’s in-depth research, but also take into account adjustments needed for phone usage behaviour changes as people pass through different age brackets. The tool also takes into consideration whether phones had certain features such as cameras or 3G capabilities when a user was a certain age, to ensure calculations are not inaccurate or misleading (i.e. if a 29 year old today had their first phone aged 9, the tool knows to ignore selfie/photo or internet-related calculations at certain points of their phone lifecycle).

The ‘Your Phone Life’ of the future tool allows users to input more detailed information about their usage, so that the calculations reflect their behaviour, with users answering up to 12 questions, such as the average time spent on calls per week and the average number of messages sent per day. It then calculates a forecast of usage, again considering changes in behaviour as the user ages; to show what their phone life of the future could look like.

For example, someone aged 25 who received their first phone at 10 and sends around 120 messages per day will end up sending approximately 1,453,065 messages in the future; and if they spend around £47 a month on their phone bill, this could round up to a total spend of £29,100 in the future.

Those aged 22-35 were above average for a number of areas, from sending an average of 120 messages per day, calling for 138 minutes per week and taking 21 selfies per week. They were, however, more likely to change their phone earlier than most; at once every 18 months compared to people aged 51+ who would most likely wait 28 months.

In comparison to younger generations, those aged 46-50 averaged 10 messages per day and 65 minutes on calls per week, compared to 102 messages sent for those aged 14-16, and 180 minutes called per week. This takes into consideration FaceTime/video chat.  Further data for different age brackets is available on request.

Jack Webster, mobile expert from www.sellmymobile.com, commented:

“We hope these findings help to put into perspective exactly how much time is spent on a phone – who knows, maybe it’ll even shock people into making sure their future usage doesn’t end up being quite as high as the tool projects. We’ve put a lot of work into the tool and hope it’s as insightful as it is fun to use.

“Whilst 57 messages per day may seem like a lot on paper, it also represents that we’ve never been more connected, both individually and through group chats in WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger – regardless of how irritating those constant notifications are. We’re now able to do so much more than just catch up with friends and family, but also to create and maintain small communities – from willingly joining niche Facebook groups, to reluctantly arranging a school reunion. Whilst our phones have evolved massively in terms of what they can do, at the end of the day their primary function is to serve as a communications device, and the study has demonstrated just how much time and cash we spend on our phones. It is really interesting to see people’s individual phone life stories, from their first ever handset, right through to today’s.”