Is Having a Smartphone a Requirement in 2022?

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For many individuals a smartphone is indispensable—as vital as meals and water. Others, nevertheless, might not see the enchantment. In keeping with CNBC, for instance, Warren Buffett used a flip cellphone for years earlier than lastly upgrading to an iPhone in 2020. This raises an essential query: Is a smartphone a necessity in 2022? There are a number of robust arguments to be made in favor of smartphones as a requirement, although affording one will not be reasonable for everybody.

Key Takeaways

  • An estimated 85% of People use a smartphone, in line with Pew Analysis.
  • Smartphones could be vital for a wide range of causes, starting from on-line safety to gaining entry to seashores and different leisure areas to driving public transportation.
  • Proudly owning a smartphone could also be difficult for lower-income households, although there are packages that may present monetary help.
  • As extra individuals reside digitally, it stands to motive that smartphones will solely turn into extra essential sooner or later.

Smartphone Possession and Use

Smartphone possession has grown tremendously over the previous decade. In keeping with the Pew Analysis Heart, 35% of People owned a smartphone in 2011, and that determine grew to 85% by 2021.

Women and men are inclined to personal smartphones in equal numbers, although People below 65 usually tend to have one. Ninety-six % of younger adults aged 18 to 29 personal a smartphone, versus 61% of adults aged 65 or older. Smartphone customers additionally are inclined to reside in city areas (slightly than suburban or rural), have a university diploma, and make $75,000 a yr or extra.

So for what, precisely, are individuals utilizing their smartphones? A number of the commonest makes use of embrace:

  • Checking social media
  • Taking part in video games or utilizing different apps
  • Making cellphone calls or texting

Other than that, individuals also can use smartphones to pay payments, verify checking account balances, handle their budgets, ship cash to family and friends, and store on-line at their favourite shops. The standard particular person checks their cellphone each 5 minutes, and 75.4% of People take into account themselves to be hooked on their telephones. Nonetheless, does that imply they’re vital?


The proportion of People who depend on their smartphone as their solely supply of web entry at dwelling, in line with the Pew Analysis Heart

The Case for Smartphones as a Requirement

It’s straightforward to say that smartphones are a luxurious slightly than a necessity. In any case, individuals managed to reside with out them for hundreds of years. Nonetheless, that ignores a variety of modifications which have taken place in how individuals work and reside.

Smartphones within the Office

The more and more digital nature of the office presents the primary instance of why smartphones must be thought of a requirement slightly than an choice. As extra corporations use cloud know-how to retailer data and on-line platforms to maintain staff linked, it presents a necessity for enhanced safety protections. Improvements akin to two-factor authentication (2FA), also called “multifactor authentication (MFA),” make that doable. MFA permits staff, together with distant staff, to securely entry digital platforms by getting into a code, and a key requirement for utilizing it’s a smartphone.

Workers who’re all in favour of distant work and unbiased contractors who work at home will possible want smartphones. Safety apart, smartphones may also be important for staying linked with work by means of messaging apps or instruments akin to Zoom.

In case your employer requires you to have a smartphone for work that you just pay for, ask whether or not any of these bills are reimbursable.

Smartphones for Recreation and Journey

Smartphones may be thought of a requirement should you journey or have interaction in leisure actions. For instance, the state of New Jersey now points seaside entry badges by means of the Viply app. This enables vacationers and vacationers to bypass in any other case lengthy wait traces to get seasonal, day by day, or weekly seaside passes.

Disney World guests can obtain an app that enables them to order and pay for contactless eating, navigate the park, and entry MagicBand options. The app additionally options direct-to-room companies when staying at Disney Resort Accommodations.

Other than these varieties of apps, there are different apps that may make journey simpler. For instance, should you’re catching a flight, your airline might provide the choice to obtain a cellular boarding go so you may skip the check-in traces. Extra chain motels are additionally providing cellular apps that allow you to verify out and in through your smartphone as an alternative of the entrance desk.

The New York Metropolis Metropolitan Transport Authority (MTA) is planning to interchange fare playing cards for subways and buses with the OMNY fee system by 2023. Utilizing it can require both a contactless credit score, debit, or pay as you go card or a smartphone or smartwatch geared up with a digital pockets. If you happen to don’t have one or the opposite, you gained’t be capable of trip public transportation in NYC.

Smartphones for Healthcare

Healthcare is one other space the place smartphones have gotten more and more essential. Telehealth apps, as an example, permit individuals to talk with a doctor reside with out leaving dwelling. Most of these apps might be important for somebody who has ongoing well being points however can’t all the time go to a physician in particular person. You may also use a laptop computer or desktop for telehealth, after all.

Smartphones for Vaccine Mandates

President Biden initiated a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal staff and contractors in July 2021, after which adopted it up with mandates for companies with 100 or extra staff and healthcare staff at services that settle for Medicare and Medicaid in November 2021. Nevertheless, they’re presently blocked because of pending litigation.

The existence of vaccine mandates varies throughout the nation, with totally different states and localities selecting totally different methods, together with some states forbidding them by regulation. They might even be vital to realize entry at non-public venues. For instance, chances are you’ll want to point out proof of vaccination to realize entry to sporting occasions, concert events, and school campuses.

New York Metropolis instituted a stringent vaccine mandate, requiring proof of vaccination for everybody 5 and older in any respect public indoor actions, which was discontinued on March 7, 2022. This included eating places, grocery shops, theaters, film homes, live performance venues, gyms, swimming swimming pools, exhibition halls, resort occasion areas, and extra.

Within the case of a vaccine mandate, a smartphone could be requirement for utilizing a vaccine passport app, akin to New York Metropolis’s COVID Secure App and New York State’s Excelsior Move.

Exhibiting proof of vaccination could also be a requirement when touring internationally to nations exterior the U.S. It’s required for overseas air vacationers getting into the US.

Affording the Value of a Smartphone

Although you may moderately say {that a} smartphone is a necessity for many individuals, affording them isn’t all the time straightforward. Smartphones can convey with them a variety of prices, together with:

  • The price of buying the cellphone itself
  • Equipment, akin to Bluetooth earpieces and automobile chargers
  • Insurance coverage safety plans
  • Month-to-month service

On common in 2020, the everyday cellphone plan price $113 monthly. The worldwide common smartphone promoting value was $363 in 2021, and premium smartphone fashions can price $1,000 or extra (Apple’s iPhone 13 Professional goes for $1,599). For somebody residing on a decent price range, these numbers could be daunting. Thus, along with asking whether or not a smartphone is a requirement in 2022, it’s additionally essential to ask how the typical particular person can afford to pay for it.

A number of the finest methods to economize on cellphone service embrace:

  • Shopping for a used cellphone as an alternative of a brand new one
  • Choosing pay as you go cellphone service in lieu of a contract plan
  • Selecting the bottom smartphone service plan doable
  • Sharing the price with others by means of a household plan

Leasing a smartphone might additionally lower your expenses and afford one other profit: the flexibility to improve to a brand new cellphone yearly or so. In that sense, leasing a cellphone is just like leasing a automobile. When the lease time period ends, you may select a brand new cellphone, hold the one you may have and signal a brand new lease, or purchase the cellphone outright.

Smartphone financing could also be an choice if you wish to purchase a cellphone to personal. You will discover it by means of retailers akin to Finest Purchase, cellular phone service suppliers, cellular phone producers akin to Samsung and Apple, or by means of purchase now, pay later (BNPL) platforms. With BNPL you’re getting some extent of sale installment mortgage as an alternative of utilizing a conventional installment mortgage or bank card. Any of those choices could be price exploring should you’re on the lookout for a option to finance a cellphone buy whereas saving cash on curiosity.

If you happen to’re all in favour of BNPL choices akin to Klarna or Affirm, make sure to examine financing phrases and credit score necessities first to search out the very best match.

How Many Individuals Have Smartphones?

The Pew Analysis Heart found that 85% of People owned a smartphone in 2021, up from solely 35% a decade earlier.

How Do Individuals Use Their Smartphones?

The preferred smartphone actions are making cellphone calls, texting, checking social media, enjoying video games, and utilizing apps. They’re additionally used for sending cash, purchasing on-line, paying payments, checking financial institution accounts, sending emails, and price range administration. As well as, they’re helpful for checking climate forecasts and getting instructions when touring through the World Positioning System (GPS).

The place Are Smartphones Most Helpful?

They’ve turn into integral to the office, particularly for unbiased contractors and others working remotely from dwelling, helpful for gaining privileged entry to journey and recreation, useful for accessing healthcare, and handy for offering proof of vaccination towards COVID-19.

What Do Smartphones Value?

The typical value of a smartphone in 2021 was $363, although premium telephones can price effectively over $1,000. On prime of that’s the price of your cellphone plan, which averaged $113 month-to-month in 2020.

The Backside Line

If you happen to use a smartphone often, chances are you’ll not give a lot thought to how central a task it performs in your day-to-day life. Whether or not you view smartphones as a necessity or not, it’s clear that dependence on them continues to extend at work, at dwelling, and whereas touring. Affording a smartphone is feasible, although it might require some planning to discover a cellphone and repair plan that align along with your price range.


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