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Mobile Devices in the Workplace: 40 Statistics You Should Know in 2023

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, many employees were already using smartphones and tablets to collaborate, access company information, and get more done. 

But with the rise of remote work, mobile devices have become an absolutely indispensable part of people's work lives. 

Today, employees are using their personal devices to join Zoom calls from their kitchen table or check email while brushing their teeth. 

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In fact, 87% of businesses rely on their employees to use their personal mobile devices to access company apps, according to Syntonic

Whether you’re looking for the latest statistics on smartphones and productivity or BYOD security, we’ve compiled 40 statistics on mobile devices in the workplace that will help you fine-tune your organization’s mobile strategy, increase collaboration, and support the shift to remote work. 

Mobile usage statistics

Today, more people worldwide own a cellphone than a toothbrush. With mobile phones becoming an inseparable part of our daily lives, understanding how to leverage mobile devices in the workplace is key to your organization’s success. These mobile statistics highlight just how ubiquitous mobile devices have become.

  • By the end of 2021, there will be over 27.1 billion devices connected to the Internet — that's more than 3 devices for every single person on the planet! [Cisco, 2021]
  • As of January 2021, 5.22 billion people (66.6% of the global population) use a mobile device.  [Datareportal, 2021]
  • As of 2020, there were 3.5 billion global smartphone users. That’s an increase of 6.7% from the previous year. [Newzoo, 2020]
  • The vast majority (97%) of Americans own a cellphone of some kind, and 85% own smartphones. In addition, 53% own tablets. [Pew Center for Research, 2021]
  • Mobile has surpassed desktop as the primary way to access the internet. [Comscore, 2018]
  • Today, 15% of American adults are “smartphone-only” internet users – meaning they do not have home broadband service but own a smartphone. [Pew Center for Research, 2021]
  • US adults will spend an average of 3 hours, 12 minute per day on smartphones, an annual increase of 6 minutes. [eMarketer, 2020]
  • Apps account for 90% of mobile media time. The other 10% is spent on websites. [Smart Insights, 2020]
  • 75% of Americans say they use their smartphones most often to check email. [Fluent, 2018]

Statistics on mobile devices at work

Today’s employees rely heavily on mobile devices at work. In fact, it’s hard to imagine work life without laptops, smartphones, and tablets. These statistics shed light on how employees are currently using their mobile devices in the workplace. 

  • 70% of employees keep their phones “within eye contact” at work. [Career Builder, 2016]
  • 91% of corporate employees are using at least one mobile app. [Apperian, 2016]
  • The average mobile worker works 240 hours a year longer than the general population. [iPass, 2017]
  •  84% of mobile workers have checked their smartphone in bed, while 72% admit to having checked their smartphone on the toilet. [iPass, 2017]
  • More than half of mobile workers say that a lack of Wi-Fi when working remotely would negatively impact their ability to do their job in some capacity. [iPass, 2017]

Mobile enterprise productivity statistics

With the rise of mobile devices at work, there’s a lot of discussion happening around smartphones and productivity. These mobile enterprise productivity stats offer insights around productivity when employers give work phones, or allow employees to use their own devices.

  • 75% of people say their smartphones make them more productive. [Google, 2017]
  •  For 97% of the users, productivity apps are the most dominant kind of apps on their smartphones. [GoodFirms, 2019]
  •  Among IT executives, 82% said smartphones are highly important to employee productivity. [Samsung/Oxford Economics, 2018]
  • 88% of highly engaged employees have control over their workplace. BYOD provides some of that control. [Steelcase, 2016]
  • 64% of leaders say technology investments have led to gains in productivity. [Celerity, 2020]
  • About half (53%) of executives said apps improve business processes and increase productivity. [Apperian, 2016]

BYOD & mobile app statistics

Given the potential of mobile devices to increase productivity, it should come as no surprise that more companies are encouraging employees to use their devices at work and providing them with business apps. These statistics provide insight on trends in BYOD and mobile app adoption in the workplace. 

  • Only 26% of U.S. companies represented provide employees with mobile phones — the lowest number for any country. [Steelcase, 2016]
  • 87% of companies expect their employees to use their personal devices for work purposes, and 77% of those companies anticipated that number would increase within a year. [Syntonic, 2016]
  • 72% of companies have a bring your own device (BYOD) policy and allow employees to bring their own devices to work. [Tenable, 2016]
  • Nearly 80% of IT executives said employees cannot do their jobs effectively without a mobile phone, and three-quarters said mobile devices are essential to workflows. [Samsung/Oxford Economics, 2018]
  •  The majority of organizations with BYOD policies provide mobile stipends to employees, with most paying between $30 and $50 per month. [Samsung/Oxford Economics, 2018]
  •  The BYOD Market was valued at $186B in 2019 and is expected to reach $430B by 2025. [Comserve, 2021]
  • Only 22% of companies are providing mobile experience for work applications and data. [PwC, 2021]
  • 45% of companies employing more than 10,000 people provide apps to at least half of their workforce. [Apperian, 2016]
  • 58% of companies are using apps to enable mobile access to critical enterprise systems. [Apperian, 2016]
  • 35% are promoting business apps internally or in a company app store [Apperian, 2016]

Mobile security statistics

With more employees accessing business data from mobile devices, bring your own device (BYOD) security has become a major concern for organizations. Personal mobile devices can expose businesses to threats from hackers and noncompliance with security mandates. Here are some mobile security statistics that will help you understand the challenges organizations are facing and how they’re responding. 

  • 67% of respondents reported that the use of personal mobile devices by remote workers have negatively impacted their organization’s security posture. [Ponemon Institute/Keeper Security, 2020]
  • 55% of respondents say smartphones represent the most vulnerable endpoint at their organization. [Ponemon Institute/Keeper Security, 2020]
  • Fifty-seven percent of technology executives worry about the security of non-managed devices. [Apperian, 2017]
  • 74% of CIOs plan to increase staffing for security operations. [Gartner, 2021]

Mobile work the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic  accelerated the shift to remote work, and with it a greater need for mobile devices. In response, many companies have developed new BYOD policies to promote connection, collaboration, and security. 

  • Only one in five Americans worked from home before COVID-19. Now, 71% of Americans work from home all or most of the time. [Pew Research, 2020]
  • 84% of company leaders plan to let employees work remotely at least some of the time after COVID-19. [Gartner, 2020]
  • By 2024, mobile workers will account for nearly 60% of the total US workforce. [IDC, 2020]
  • 63% of leaders say COVID-19 made their organizations embrace digital transformation sooner than they had expected. [Celerity, 2020]
  • 85% of organizations implemented BYOD policies because of the COVID-19 pandemic. [Bitglass, 2020]
  • Among technology solution companies, 13% added additional staff to assist with needs related to telecommuting, cybersecurity, and "other essential services” in 2020. [CompTIA, 2020]

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Note: This article was originally published in October 2018 and was updated January 6 2023 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.