Some Would Choose Smartphones over Deodorant

July 15, 2014 ( – People are more connected to their smartphones and other mobile technology than ever, ranking them as important as their toothbrushes and deodorant.

The “Trends in Consumer Mobility Report 2014” from Bank of America finds that Americans see their smartphone as “an indispensable companion.” In terms of importance to their daily life, 91% of respondents overall rank their mobile/smartphone as most important, tying with their car and deodorant, and surpassed only by their toothbrush (95%) and the Internet in general (93%). Coffee was near the bottom the list (60%).

However, when it comes to age groups, the youngest Millennials (ages 18 to 24) view their smartphone as the most important part of their daily lives (96%), while the Internet (88%), deodorant (90%) and their toothbrush (93%) were deemed as slightly less important.

This strong connection to their smartphones has turned many Americans into compulsive checkers, according to the survey. A majority of respondents (85%) check their smartphone several times a day and 35% say they check it constantly, with only 13% saying they hardly ever check it. In terms of how long they could last without their smartphone, only 16% of respondents say they could survive without it indefinitely. About one-third (34%) say they could survive 24 hours, 28% say they could survive week, and 13% say they could survive less than an hour without their smartphone.

If their smartphone were lost or stolen, the top five concerns that respondents would have include: loss of identity and security information (79%); loss of contact information (79%); loss of photos and videos (72%); not being able to connect with family and friends while awaiting a replacement phone (68%); and missing an important call (68%).

As to what respondents would be willing to give up to have their phones returned to them, 45% would give up alcohol, 34% would give up chocolate, 22% would give up shopping and 16% would forego watching television or movies. Women were less likely than men, however, to say they would give up chocolate in order to have their phone returned to them (27% vs. 42%).

Asked about others’ mobile phone habits, checking the phone while driving was most annoying to 38% of respondents, 15% each said sharing too much information about themselves via the phone and discussing personal information loudly in public were the most annoying habits, 12% cited checking the phone in the middle of an in-person conversation, and 7% selected checking the phone during a meal.

Braun Research conducted the survey, on behalf of Bank of America, between May 6 and 23, via telephone with 1,000 U.S. adults who were older than 18, had a checking or savings account, and owned a smartphone. The survey also explored banking behaviors, seeking to explain the how, when and why consumers are using their mobile devices to manage their finances. The survey report is here.