In the 13 years that have passed since Apple released its first iPhone, smartphones have become as ubiquitous to Americans as car keys—few people go anywhere, much less do anything, without them.
The rise in dominance by this mobile device has transformed the ways people communicate, connect, and collaborate, whether for work, recreation, dating, entertainment, philanthropy, or even worship. This transformation has even reshaped the smartphone itself: Initially fashioned in the spirit of the landline telephone and the cellphone, it now has evolved to the point where phone calls themselves are increasingly rare. Text messaging and software-based apps are the primary uses.
Consequently, the number of first-time phone app downloads worldwide continues to explode. And phone apps devoted to financial-related activities are among the fastest-growing categories in the industry, with consumers accessing them more than 1 trillion times in 2019—double the pace from just two years prior, according to data and analytics firm App Annie. Research firm eMarketer, another analytics company, estimates the average American adult spent just shy of three hours per day in 2019 using their smartphones—and 90 percent of that time was spent using apps.