Updated February 13th, 2024 at 19:10 IST

Did you pick up your phone without knowing why? You are not alone

Individuals aged 18-24 spend 1.5 times more time engaging with short-form videos such as reels and shorts compared to those aged 35 and above, report suggest.

Reported by: Anirudh Trivedi
Representative | Image:Unsplash

Mobile usage patterns: Half of smartphone users pick up their phones without a specific purpose, according to a recent analysis conducted by BCG in collaboration with VTION. The study categorises user behaviour into three types: pre-determined (45-50 per cent), where users are clear on both action and app; exploratory (5-10 per cent), where users know the action but not the app; and spontaneous (45-50 per cent), where users are unclear on both action and app.

According to the report findings, individuals aged 18-24 spend 1.5 times more time engaging with short-form videos such as reels and shorts compared to those aged 35 and above. This trend remains consistent across various cities and genders. Interestingly, while time spent on different smartphone use cases remains relatively uniform across age groups, there is a notable exception with young adults spending significantly more time on short-form videos.


The research underlines the expansion of smartphone functionalities from mere socialising to a diverse array of over nine use cases including streaming, shopping, searching, gaming, and more. In terms of overall smartphone usage patterns in India, gaming constitutes approximately 5 per cent of the total average time spent, while shopping and e-commerce activities range from 5-8 per cent. However, it is long-form streaming that dominates the landscape, accounting for a substantial 25-29 per cent of the total time spent on smartphones by Indian users.

Despite this proliferation, users encounter friction points such as inconvenience, irrelevant information, and lack of discovery, necessitating innovative solutions.


The BCG collected actual clicks and swaps data of over 1000 users along with extensive consumer interviews across India, shedding light on the evolving landscape of smartphone usage and the pivotal role of 'surfaces' in enhancing user experience.

What are Surfaces?

‘Surfaces’, the next-gen human-device interaction, has the potential to delight consumers – by providing a seamless and smart experience while showing the potential to address challenges about broken experiences. While ‘Surfaces’ do exist today in their most nascent form – they are likely to become Al-powered interfaces, driving interactions between users and apps. With some of the ecosystem stakeholders are building advanced use cases already – and the results are evident with surface innovators clocking ~220+ million MAUs in India today – indicating strong engagement onto surfaces, the report suggests. 

Kanika Sanghi, Lead of the Centre for Customer Insights India said, “Smartphones are evolving – the recent spate of discussions in media and at industry events on themes like ‘AI on device’ or ‘app-less experience through Gen AI’ is a testament to that evolution. ‘Surfaces’ can serve as the conduit to deliver this new evolved experience that’s smart, seamless and often enables serendipity.”


Published February 13th, 2024 at 19:08 IST