The latest Digital Australia report from professional services firm Ernst & Young has found Australians spend on average 10 hours and 24 minutes engaging with their internet-connected devices every day.
Almost a quarter of the 1,500 people surveyed also said they spent more time on their smartphone than they did talking to their partner or friends.
Aussies are also spending big bucks on their internet-enabled devices, with the average person forking out $181 a month on digital subscription services such as mobile phone data, apps and platforms such as Netflix.
In addition, almost 40% of those surveyed said they would rather conduct transactions over the internet than by phone or face-to-face.
Jenny Young, customer leader for Ernst & Young, told SmartCompany small businesses need to understand just how prevalent smartphones are in today’s society.
“They are an absolute necessity rather than an indulgence for Australians,” Young says.
“The fact we’ve got two thirds of Australians checking their smartphones first thing in the morning and spending an average of 10 hours and 24 minutes in front of digital devices every day is very substantial.
“The rate of usage of smartphones in particular just shows the trend towards mobility.”
Young says Australians have always embraced mobile phones, but now smartphone penetration is just over 80%.
“That is very high,” she says.
“We are seeing, I think, continued improvement in consumer and business usage and capability. Businesses need to continue to innovate and improve their digital experience because, of course, it’s a global marketplace and not just an Australian one. The market’s always moving.”
While more and more Australians are shopping online, Young says the research suggests there remain some fundamental concerns that businesses should be tackling.
The first is issues around security of personal information, such as bank details or contact information.
“Ninety-seven per cent of Australians say safe and secure transactions are fundamental to having a quality digital experience,” Young says.
“Businesses need to address quite fundamental things around privacy and security. The importance of actually having a very strong, consistent digital experience is also key – and recognising customers across all different channels.”
Young also points out almost one quarter of respondents said they felt overwhelmed by the information provided by their mobile devices.
“Businesses need to be mindful of that in terms of making their experiences intuitive and easy so users don’t have to put a lot of effort into interacting with their websites,” she says.