A study on Swedish mobile consumer habits in the height of the smartphone era


Smartphone penetration is approaching its peak, just nine years after the launch of the first full touchscreen smartphone.

No other personal technological device has had the same commercial and societal impact as the smartphone. However, as the base nears a plateau, innovation has started to shift more to adjacent devices and services, leading to new exciting times.


Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2016 provides unique insight into the mobile behaviour of nearly 53,000 respondents across 31 countries globally, with the sample for Sweden covering ca 2,000 respondents.

We are proud to say that this makes the survey one of the largest available information sources of its kind. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for further conversations based on the content and data sets.


Almost three quarters of 18-24 year olds check their phones in the middle of the night.

The use of IM apps has almost doubled over two years. Weekly use of voice calls continued to drop from 81% to 72%.

Apps are mainly used for routine tasks such as checking the weather, whereas browsers are used for non-uniform tasks like online shopping.

IoT adoption has been slow, but the connected home segment may grow quicker in the near-future.

The Swedish consumers are highly receptive to mobile payments and the majority have used their phones to transfer money within the last 3 months.

A fifth of all smartphone users use fingerprint reading today, and a majority are willing to share their usage data – if they can choose what they share.


The mobile phone has transitioned from being a practical utility tool, used mainly for communication, to becoming an essential service provider that proactively makes life easier for its users based on their behaviour. New technology and changing consumer behaviours lead to increasing demands for more advanced digital services and products from the brands and organizations that we interact with.

The Swedish mobile consumers are highly tech-savvy put in an international context. Not surprisingly, young Swedes interact more with their phones than the older generations, but the data clearly shows that all age groups are becoming increasingly digital. Two areas in which the young age group stands out are the comfortability with online purchasing and sharing data with third parties.

Overview of behaviours in the different age groups.



Swedish consumers today collectively look at their smartphones more than 300 million times a day. The smartphone is more embedded in our lives than ever before and has essentially become a digital extension of ourselves.

The survey data demonstrates that we interact with our phones during the entire course of the day – when waking up (and not just to check the alarm), when on the move (perfect time to run errands and catching up with friends), at work, when socializing with friends (yes, even you), and at home (we multi-task!). We even tend to use our smartphones during sleeping hours.

It is clear that the smartphone has become one of our most personal and most desired companions, rarely leaving our side. Multitasking is a large part it – we can interact with our phones while doing other things. While this enables us to stay informed, in touch and entertained at all times, it has also become socially intrusive and we have arguments over it. Will this behaviour deepen even further in the future?


73% of 18-24 year-olds use their smartphone in the middle of the night.

4 of 10

4 out 10 argues with their housemates or friends over spending too much time with their smartphones.


Johan’s first interaction with his phone is when he wakes up in the middle of the night. He instinctively checks the time, but then reads a Facebook message.

In the morning he first puts his phone on snooze, then answers an e-mail and catches up on the news to discuss later at work. Later on, he settles a disagreement with a colleague by fact checking the capital of Zambia.

Johan ends his day on the couch with his wife, in front of Netflix, and as usual his wife complains that he fiddles with his phone too much while they’re spending time together.


We are addicted to our phones during the course of the day, but what of usage during sleeping hours? Almost every other person checks their phone in the middle of the night. This behavior is, not surprisingly, the most common among the young (18-24 year olds). Almost three-quarters from this age group check their phones in the middle of the night. Almost one third check their social media accounts or messages respectively, and more than a fifth respond to messages during the night. It is probably only a matter of time before companies begin to capitalize on this behaviour.



We are losing the habit of making traditional voice calls on our phones. In 2014, 81% of respondents claimed to make a standard voice call in any given week. In 2016, the rate had dropped to 72%. During that same period, all other ways of communicating via a smartphone became more widespread, except for text messaging.

"The usage rate of instant messaging apps almost doubled over the past two years."

In other words, we are not communicating any less but instead opt for the more modern tools to do so. The data also indicates that these communication tools are seen as complements and that we prefer to use an array of ways to communicate. What used to be the main purpose of having a mobile phone 10 years ago – making phones calls and sending SMS – certainly is changing.


Sanna communicates with people a lot, mostly in writing. She texts her best friends several times a day and has more than ten active chats in WhatsApp.

Her class in school has its own Facebook group where they discuss assignments and potential internships. She even received her latest train ticket straight to her Facebook Messenger.

The only time she talks on the phone is when she Facetimes with her friends abroad or when her parents call.


Many Swedish consumers access multiple IM applications, social networks and email services in parallel. For example, 18-24 year olds are enthusiastic users of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram as well as Snapchat, among others. Each app has its own characteristics: Snapchat’s messages are typically ephemeral, whereas other services store conversation histories permanently.

One of the growing trends currently seen is that of the so called “conversational commerce” which many of the leading brands – including Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple – are working on today. Whether through the use of voice assistants or smart chatbots, the new digital concierges are now opening up for integration with commercial services, allowing users to, for instance, locate and pay for taxi rides directly through the messaging apps.



The app is one of the most disruptive innovations of the last decade and has driven the commercial success of the smartphone. With the huge surge of apps and the increased capabilities of the smartphone, what are the things that Swedish consumers most commonly use their phones for these days?

The majority of the Swedish respondents have 30 or fewer apps installed on their phones (excluding pre-installed apps). Overall, the willingness to download a large number of apps seems to be higher among young people. Considering that there are more than 2 million apps available on both Apple’s App Store and on Android, each app is competing with 100 000 others to obtain a precious spot on the smartphone user’s home screen.


Lucas logs onto his GoogleMaps app to find the fastest way to the bicycle shop where he is meeting his friend. He has been comparing models online for weeks and now he wants to try one of them out.

The bike is even better than he expected and after a quick check on online forums, to see if there are second hands available, he buys it.

On the metro train home he puts on his favourite playlist on the Spotify app, shares his new purchase on Snapchat and starts browsing air tickets for his next downhill trip.


Apps tend to be the most successful for tasks that are performed on a regular basis. Using a browser can be more effective in other instances, typically when the task or content is not uniform, such as with shopping. That Swedes prefer to shop through browsers rather than via apps should interest retailers, especially those pursuing omni-channel initiatives.

Looking forward, there is a growing trend towards reducing user interfaces altogether to instead create technology with “no interface” (or so called “No UI”).

This would allow for interactions with machines to be more natural and intuitive. Examples include Amazon’s Alexa, which allows users to access content and to purchase products using the voice alone.

In the future, companies may have to focus more on providing their services through these channels rather than building their own digital interfaces – be it through an app or a browser.



Read the news


Online shopping


Travel booking




Read sport news



Check the weather




Social networking


Online banking





The Internet of Things (IoT) describes a vision where every object – from spin dryers to dog collars to traffic lights – is connected, enabling an explosion of value creation. With IoT devices everywhere, the users will consume less energy due to smart thermostats, be better informed due to smart watches or be safer thanks to smart security cameras. The question is only when it will become the new norm.


Connected entertainment devices is by far the most popular IoT category among the Swedish consumers. But considering how popular they already are, a comparatively low percentage of the respondents are willing to buy these devices within the next year, indicating that the growth of these devices may have stagnated – at least for now.


Own or have access to a
Smart TV


Own or have access to a
Wireless speaker


Own or have access to a
VR headset


David comes home from work delighted to see that his robot vacuum has just finished cleaning his apartment floors.

The oven is already preheated for dinner and he receives a text from Alice to make a salad. She gets a notification when the alarm is switched off, so she knows when he is home.

David’s fitness app reminds him that he should go running, but ever since his smart watch ran out of battery running feels useless as he can’t track his progress. Instead he turns on the speakers in all rooms, blasts music and starts wondering how long it will be before they buy a real robot.


The second most popular IoT category is the connected home devices. These are the devices that help you save energy with smart lightings or automate your laundry with smart appliances. Even though few Swedish consumers currently have these type of devices, a high number are willing to purchase these devices within the year. Perhaps in a year or two, these too will be as popular as the connected entertainment devices?

Some hindrances for the relatively slow adoption of IoT devices so far can be that they often require some learning before their full potential can be used. For instance, smart lighting systems may be very powerful, but setting it up may also be too complex for some potential users.

The platform war with several standards all competing to be “the next big thing” may also deter some buyers. With the many choices available right now, some consumers may be inclined to wait until themarket has more indications on which devices will be viable in the future before buying.



Mobile payment solutions have for long been thought to be the next big thing. For almost as long as the smartphone revolution began experts have anticipated that the smartphone would replace the traditional wallet. Mobile wallet solutions have certainly reached the market, but few have still used them today. These solutions are yet to have their big breakthrough among the Swedish consumers.


45% of all respondents
have used Swish.


Patricia is late for work and decides to take her car. Luckily she finds a parking spot, but doesn’t see a pay-meter so she pays with her parking app.

During lunch she browses home decoration sites to find her dad a gift, but she doesn’t have time for mobile checkout so she saves her shopping cart and leaves the site.

Later in the day she logs onto her bank app and sees that she must remind her friends to send her money for Friday night's dinner. She doesn’t like having to remind people, especially since it is so easy nowadays using Swish.


While there has been much hype around mobile in-store payments – which has seen some success in international markets – their adoption in Sweden has been comparatively slow. The main reason is that there simply are not that many retailers who support the infrastructure needed to enable in-store payments (such as NFC readers).

Although 45% of the respondents claimed they did not see any benefits with in-store payments, it is likely that more will give it a try once it becomes more readily available and user-friendly. The question then is what is likely to increase first: the demand from the consumers or the enabling technology from the retailers?


Setting mobile shopping aside, Swedish consumers are much more likely to use their phones for other mobile commerce activities compared to the average European user. The majority of Swedes have recently used their phones to both check their bank balances and transferred money to friends or family, the latter being thanks in large to the success of Swish.

There is a large receptiveness among Swedes to use their phones for personal finance activities, as evidenced by the survey results. There are most likely large rewards to be reaped for the banks or retailers who can capitalize on this and make use of this receptiveness even for mobile shopping activities.



Thousands of years ago, the citizens of Ancient Babylon imprinted their fingerprints into clay tablets to authenticate transactions. Today, the problem of authentication remains and a multitude of difficult passwords are causing more and more trouble for many. To solve this, fingerprint is now being revived.

Two three years ago, hardly anyone had a device with fingerprint reading. Today, more than a third of all the Swedish smartphone users have it and, out of these, the majority are using it. In the coming years, it will expand to become available in both premium and mid-range smartphones. Soon, a majority of all phones will have fingerprint reading, and more consumers will use it. In the future, it can be used for everything to making payments to more civic applications, such as submitting online tax returns or even voting.


Per still hasn’t bought anything on his mobile. To him, it seems like a hassle with all the typing required on the small screen. He also wants to avoid sharing too much information online such as credit card details.

He likes the idea of receiving more personalised services, but often companies send too much information which feels intrusive.

He is frustrated that his daughter doesn’t worry over brands knowing personal details about her, she even uses her fingerprint to log on to her banking app.


From the survey, it was seen that younger users are more willing to share their usage information than the older age groups. The majority are willing to share their data as long as they can choose what information is shared.

However, a great amount of the Swedish users seem to not be aware of how much data they actually are sharing already. Out of all the smartphone owners, almost a third claimed they never share any personal information. Given that data is collected as soon as the user turns on their phone, browser, social media account or most other apps, a smartphone user is essentially always sharing personal data.

Only a rough quarter stated they have shared their names to any online organization, despite more than two thirds (68%) having claimed they use Facebook.

Currently, it seems that many companies are enjoying the unawareness among the consumers about how much data they are sharing. In the future, scepticism may increase, and companies may have to fight harder in order to make user release their valuable personal data.


Download and read the full report in PDF here