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For entertainment purposes: who’s playing music, games and videos on their smartphones?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, April 2014 – March 2015 n = 9,036 Australians 14+ with a smartphone.

Sure, we can use smartphones to send and receive messages and even (if absolutely necessary) speak to people. But there’s more fun to be had, from streaming songs and viewing videos to crushing candy. New smartphone usage data from Roy Morgan Research shows how different generations of smartphone owners are keeping themselves amused.

Nearly 14 million Australians aged 14+ (70%) now have a smartphone, but there are still big differences in uptake rates across the generations: nearly all Generations Z and Y have one, as do over three-quarters of Gen X, the majority of Baby Boomers and even a quarter of Pre-Boomers, nearly all of whom are now over 70.  

In the 12 months to March 2015, 47% of all smartphone owners used the phone to play music during an average week, 45% played games and 31% played videos. Younger smartphone owners in Generation Z are the most likely to be using the devices for entertainment purposes: 74% play music, 64% play games and 54% play videos on their phone during the week. Among Generation Y, the rates of entertainment activities decrease but playing music remains the most common (58%), ahead of games (52%) and videos (44%).

% of smartphone owners who play in an average week

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source, April 2014 – March 2015 n = 9,036 Australians 14+ with a smartphone.

However among older generations, games overtake music as the number one diversion: 44% of smartphone owners in Generation X play games on the device during the week, ahead of 40% playing music. Video-viewing also drops sharply to just 22% of Gen-X smartphone owners—half the rate among Gen-Y.

Games remain the most popular smartphone entertainment activity among Baby Boomers (22% of owners) and Pre-Boomers (14%)—but few of them using the device as a music player (18% and 7% respectively) or video screen (just 7% and 2%).

Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Younger people clearly treat their phones like full entertainment devices. Being able to call someone on it is just one useful feature among many. For the newest (and subsequent) generations, even the term ‘phone’ inherently already means something that is ‘mobile’ and ‘smart’ that is also, of course, a music player, a games console, a diary, an alarm, a portable wireless hotspot, a remote control, a map, a barometer, a pedometer, a scanner, a credit card….  

“While the entertainment options certainly appeal more to younger users, there is one non-phone function with broad and near-universal appeal: the camera. 84% of smartphone owners took at least one photo on their phone in the last week. The only activities more common were making calls and sending texts. In fact, around half a million more smartphone owners took a photo than accessed the internet—the whole reason the phone is ‘smart’ in the first place.

“The full, world-changing impacts of mobile technologies, from home to school to workplace, are yet to be revealed. On-going and long-term trending of technology usage across market segments is vital.”  

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%