By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 13, Feb 2021, 9:47 am IST | UPDATED: 13, Feb 2021, 9:52 am IST
The COVID-19 pandemic has tightened the grip smartphones exercise on users, and this is starting to have a negative impact on the mental and physical health of users, with a majority worrying about their smartphone addiction. That’s the key finding of a study conducted by Vivo and Cyber Media Research titled ‘Smartphones and their impact on human relationships 2020’.
The second edition of the report this year looks at the impact of the pandemic and highlights how users are even more dependent on their smartphones in 2020 with many worried about their addiction, but unable to do much to curb it.
Explaining the logic behind conducting this study, Nipun Marya, Director Brand Strategy at Vivo India, said, “Excess usage of smartphones, we believe is somewhere harming relationships. And, therefore, it fundamentally goes against our brand values. Excessive usage is leading to addiction, which is then harming relationships.”
While many users report that lockdowns and work from home has resulted in more time being spent with family members, the average time spent on smartphones continues to rise.
One major finding of the study was that since 2019 there has been a major jump in the daily hour usage of smartphones per user. “There is nearly a 39 per cent increase in smartphone usage from 2019. 2019, the duration in hours was at 4.5 hours, and this has increased to nearly 7 hours now”.
New users from rural areas contributed to the rising monthly data usage and smartphones emerged as the primary source of entertainment and productivity – an average Indian spent around five hours daily on a smartphone, one of the highest averages globally.
Short video format was the fastest-growing content category. With a surge in internet users, the total time spent monthly on short content is expected to grow four times by 2025, according to the latest report, ‘Mobile Broadband India Traffic Index (MBiT) 2021’, by Nokia, on mobile broadband performance in India. The average monthly data usage per user reached 13.5 GB in December 2020, growing over 20 per cent annually due to an increase in data subscribers and mobile video consumption, the report said.
It said that 4G alone constituted nearly 99 per cent of the total data traffic consumed across the country, and categories A, B and C (circles) saw higher growth rates than metros due to operator focus on 4G.
The report also highlighted that data traffic in India grew around 60 times over the last five years, which is among the highest globally. In 2020, the data traffic grew by 36 per cent year-on-year, primarily due to the rise in 4G data consumption, as 4G subscribers surpassed 700 million with 100 million new additions during the year.
The 2021 MBiT report also explored the potential of fixed broadband and said that with only 22 million fixed broadband subscribers, there is a significant growth opportunity for this segment. As India prepares to launch 5G amid Covid-19, fixed broadband accessibility through Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) and FTTx will help generate a new revenue stream for operators.
“ 5G technology has a huge potential for value creation in India as the pace of digitisation is accelerating. The phenomenal growth in data consumption in India will drive demand for enhanced broadband and fixed capacity,” said Sanjay Malik, Senior Vice-President and Head of India Market, Nokia.
On device trends, the report said that 4G device base surpassed 607 million units, reaching a 77 per cent penetration level. VoLTE devices constituted 93 per cent of the total LTE handsets. There are already two-million active 5G devices in use across the country, it said.
“A double-digit growth is expected in 2021 for the smartphone industry as people embrace hybrid work models, e-learning, and consume content over OTT platforms.
“The launch of low-cost 4G smartphones will provide the necessary headroom for data growth, with a significant number of 2G/3G subscribers potentially upgrading to a 4G smartphone,” the report noted.